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Port Decanter - how to decant port

Decanting Vintage Port Step 2

Now you have determined the type of port wine you have - vintage port, crusted port or LBV - and decided that it needs decanting.

The next stage is to prepare the bottle - really that just means standing the bottle upright in the room that you plan to decant it in some hours before you need to open it.

Preferably this should be done 24 hours in advance to give the sediment time to settle to the bottom of the bottle of port.  However, if you don't have time then a few hours should get most of it to the bottom.

You are now almost ready to open the port and pour it into your port decanter.  Most bottles of port wine that need decanting will have a driven cork - the same kind of cork as any bottle of wine.  Most likely if the port has a stopper cork, one with a plastic top that you can easily pull out, it will not need decanting.

However, check the label just in case - in the world of port there is always an exception to any rule.

Remove the metallic or plastic wrapper that surrounds the cork, being careful not to shake the bottle and disturb the sediment.  Using a corkscrew remove the driven cork, again using gentle persuasion to remove it so that the sediment remains at the bottom of the bottle.

The opening should be done a few hours in advance to give the port a little breathing time.

As a little side note here, you may have heard of people using port tongs to open bottles of port.  These are for very old bottles of vintage port only, where there might be some doubt about being able to draw the cork cleanly with a corkscrew.

The method for port tongs is a bit dramatic as it involves heating the port tongs until they are red hot, clasping the hot tongs round the neck of the bottle, and then using a cold, damp cloth to give the hot glass a thermal shock that snaps the neck of the bottle off complete with cork.

Don't worry - unless you have something really special, like a bottle of 1963 vintage port, in your attic you are unlikely to ever need to resort to port tongs!

So step 2 - prepare the bottle.

<<Step 1       Step 3 >>
Have your decanter ready - a selection of our port decanters and port glasses -
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