What Do You Look For In A Decanter?

Long time friends and Winethropology supporters were over for dinner this weekend.  Jerry popped this question.  As happens when old friends are catching up, the conversation swirls, only occasionally returning to the original point.  And, so, this question went unanswered.  Jerry: this one's for you.

So, what do you look for in a decanter?

In a word: unbreakability.  Okay, so maybe that's not really a word, but you get the point.  In close second place is a lip sharp enough to keep the wine from dribbling while being poured.

Not surface area?  Not crystal?  Not wow factor?  Nope.  All those things are nice, but the photo below is proof of how important break resistance is here at the Winethropology Global Tasting Bench.  Sure, we've tested decanters of every design, material, and price point.  Many have come and gone.  They've gone - not for performance reasons, but because they break.  And when a decanter breaks (or worse, chips, while full) it is pretty much useless.  And if you happen to have big Irish mitts like the Mrs does, delicate, narrow glassware stands about as much a chance as a cheap folding chair at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting.

Hold up...why do we care about decanters?  They're fancy things used by ascot-wearing Frenchman, right? Um, no.  Every single red wine, regardless of age or variety, gets decanted here.  It's just the way it's done.  No wine has ever suffered from it and almost all have benefited.

So, below are two very practical examples of decanters that fit the bill.  On the right is the Riedel "O" decanter - and exceedingly generous gift from family.  Not only is it stylish and practical, but it is a stout survivor of a decanter.  On the left is a hand made pitcher from Bolgheri picked up on a trip there many years ago - proof that you don't need much more than an open, neutral vessel to do the job.  Both get equal billing and use.

What do you decant in?