Contrary to popular belief, decanting is chiefly required for young wines, which must be opened in order to express their full flavour. The time required varies between 2 and 24 hours depending on the wine and the vintage, as wines that are strong in tannins generally require additional time.
Aged vintages do not require long decanting, and you can open the bottle between 1 and 2 hours before tasting.
At Lafite, the cellar master always performs a double decanting of red wines:
- decanting in carafe (candlelight),
- cleaning the bottle,
- and filling the bottle with the decanted wine.
Decanting is recommended even if for a very short time as it enables the aromas to open up and it is also an opportunity to check for any faults in the wine.