ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

When enjoying a quality white wine, why is not decanted as with a red? Would it not benefit and open up as well?

—Kirk, Allentown, N.J.

Dear Kirk,

White wines are sometimes decanted, but you're right that it's less common than with reds. Remember that the main functions of decanting are to aerate a wine or to separate it from its sediment. The vast majority of whites are made in a drink-me-now style, so most folks don't age their whites, and even if they do, whites tend to throw less sediment then reds.

If you're curious, experiment! The next time you have an intense young white wine, see if you prefer it decanted, and hold a taste aside that's undecanted to compare. If you drink a lot of aged white Burgundies (and I hope you do), you should definitely try decanting them. Decanting is also a trick I use to warm up a too-cold white so I can enjoy it better.

—Dr. Vinny


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