Should White Wines Ever be Decanted?

BY COURTNEY SCHIESSL


Decanting is a hot topic. Opinions buzz about when what and how to decant. But nearly all that chatter centres around red wines. Is it ever appropriate to decant white, or even sparkling, wines?



Like red wines, few white wines need to be decanted. However, if a young, complex white wine is a bit too tight, or the temperature isn’t quite right, a decanter can coax the best out of bottling.

“Most consumers shy away from decanting white wines, but in my experience, it can greatly enhance your drinking experience,” says Cameron Cronin.



Like red wines, few white wines need to be decanted. However, if a young, complex white wine is a bit too tight, or the temperature isn’t quite right, a decanter can coax the best out of a bottling.


Since decanting can help white wines blow off undesirable aromas, it can be advantageous to keep an eye out for wines that tend to be reductive. Screw caps can be good indicators, as they can create an oxygen-deficient environment for ageing. Dry Furmints from Hungary and Austrian Grüner Veltliner and Riesling may be worth decanting.


There are many white Burgundies vinified in reductive environments, and increasingly, producers from around the world make reductive styles of Chardonnay as well. They can be so tightly wound and sometimes reductive, depending on the producer, so I find a quick decant can help the fruit and minerality come forward.

Nea Berglund, the winemaker for Château Carsin in Bordeaux, says people should consider a decant for white Bordeaux as well. “I often decant older vintages of white Bordeaux, but not the recent years,” she says. Berglund says that older white Bordeaux wines are more expressive at warmer temperatures. She recommends decanting the wine and let it warm up at room temperature for a half-hour before enjoying.