In this age of fast food, fast cars, mass transit, instant communication and instant gratification, the very idea of slowing down to decant a bottle of wine seems somehow an artifact of a bygone era. An anachronism. We want our wine and we want it now. Straight out of the bottle and into the glass, just like we like our beer. The wine decanter does harken back to an earlier, gentler time. It releases the soul of wine. The soul of an unhurried process that began with the sun shining down on grapes slowly ripening on the vine, to the picking at the right time, to the fermentation, and onto the final bottling and aging.
It is the very nature of wine, fine wine that is, to be savored, to be coaxed to reveal its true nature. To be allowed to open up and tell us its story. Like a fine work of art, a fine piece of music or dare I say, a fine aged cheddar, a fine wine needs to sit, to sing, to play and to blossom. Wine is by nature a wild thing transformed by a certain alchemy, and the bottle is not only a literal object, but a metaphor as well. Wild things need to escape being bottled up to fly free.
Now back in the day wine bottles contained sediments (and some fine aged wines today do as well). The wine needed to be poured into a vessel and the sediment left at the bottom of the bottle. The purpose of a decanter in those times was to produce a pure drink that didn’t have, well, dirt in it. So to speak.