The wine in front of me feels tight. It's been squeezed and stomped and stored and then squished into a bottle and transported, and by the time I've screwed the top from it and poured myself a glass it doesn't exactly feel ready to party. It's still stressed. It's still tight. It's almost as if the wine itself needs a drink.

And that, in a way, is what decanting ­ pouring the entire contents of a bottle into a jug or carafe or specified decanter ­ does: it relaxes a wine, like giving it a drink.

We often do it with red wines.  But here's a revolutionary thought: it benefits a lot of white wines too.


White wines have feelings too. A stint in the decanter helps them open up and reveal their true flavours. 

Once upon a time I never would have suggested that anyone decant a white wine. All that juicy fruit flavour is usually tumbling over itself anyway; you almost want to hold it back rather than encourage it. And the truth is that most white wines don't need to be decanted.

But some definitely do. Just a quick pour into a jug, the entire bottle, the whole lot then poured straight back into the bottle. This is called a double-decant. It quickly sloshes air into the wine, relaxing it, freeing it up, allowing its charms to unwind. This is a particularly effective tactic with wooded or highly textural whites; whites that seem firm and unyielding, perhaps even a little reductive, like their brain is in desperate need of oxygen.

High-end chardonnays, from both Australia and Europe, are often excellent candidates. Aspirational, wooded whites in general too. And the funkier orange/amber white wines often lap up air like it's being given away free.

Below is a list of some fantastic (quality) whites that could do with a fantastic burst of air.


  •  Michael Hall Chardonnay 2014
  • Luke Lambert Chardonnay 2014
  •  Leeuwin Estate Prelude Vineyard Chardonnay 2013
  •  Cullen Amber Wine 2014
  •  Delatite Deadman’s Hill Gewurztraminer 2013
  •  Billy Button The Torment Riesling 2015
  •  Hoddles Creek 1er Chardonnay 2013
  • Oakridge 864 Funder & Diamond Chardonnay 2013

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