Decanters are designed for serving red wine and organic wine. They generally hold a standard 750 mL bottle of wine.
The shape of decanters creates a large surface area for air to interact and aerate the wine. Decanters are used more for red wine than white wine, because red wine needs more aeration. Red wines spend more time in contact with the grape skins and seeds, during the maceration step of the winemaking process, so they have more sediment and more tannins. Aerating wine in a decanter will help smoothen tannins out and so wine is more enjoyable.
When pouring a cellar temperature wine from a bottle into a decanter, the wine will warm up slightly due to the air temperature inside the decanter and the temperature of the decanter walls. This is one reason why decanters are not really used for white wines, as they are served chilled.
When pouring wine from a bottle into a decanter, you can leave any sediment in the bottom of the bottle. Sediment is more common in red wines, due to its longer maceration. Sediment is also common in organic wines, because they do not use sulfites. Sulfites are additives used to bond with suspended solids and settle them out during aging step of the winemaking process. Wines that do not use sulfites generally have more sediment in them.
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