Decanting – What? Why? How?
Many ports are bottled unfiltered to allow them to continue ageing. Ports bottled this way can throw a reasonable amount of sediment or ‘crust’ as they age which can be detrimental to the enjoyment of your drink if it ends up in your glass. It is very difficult to avoid this happening when pouring glasses straight from the bottle due to the disturbance cause by repeatedly tipping the bottle. Decanting also aerates the port, which allows its delicate and complex aromas, dormant during the ageing process, to open up and express themselves. This is particularly important for younger vintages.
Before decanting your port ensure that the bottle has been stood upright and undisturbed for at least a couple of days, the longer the better, especially for older vintages.
First ensure that you have a clean decanter ready (or a clean jug or bottle will do), then, being careful to avoid agitating the contents, remove the cork seal and wipe away any dust before cautiously inserting the cork-screw. Keep in mind that corks deteriorate over time and can become very delicate in older bottles, so it is important to treat it with care and pull gently from the bottle, so as not to snap the cork*.