How to Care for and Serve Old Red Wine?

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How to Care for and Serve Old Red Wine?

Welcome to the delicate art of pouring aged red wine. Where old bottles of wine are a time capsule waiting to share its story. Let’s cut through the fuss and explore how to care for and serve your old reds.

  • Do you to learn the secrets behind pouring an old bottle of red wine?
  • How do you make sure that cherished vintage is treated just right?
  • What’s the deal with decanting?
  • How do you handle those delicate, aged corks?

As your guide, we’ll walk you through the steps. Making the process simple and enjoyable. Even for the beginners. Join us to enjoy your fine vintage old bottles of wine.

Learn the Decanting Process

Decanting is a key step in serving old red wines. It ensures a smoother and more enjoyable drinking experience.

Here, we’ll guide you through the process. From understanding the purpose of decanting to selecting the right vessel and knowing when to decant.

Purpose Of Decanting

Decanting serves to separate the clear wine from the sediment.

Decanting allows the wine to breathe.

It uplifts the overall quality and profile of old red wines.

Old bottles of wine tend to accumulate sediment over time. This can impart bitter flavours and a gritty texture. Decanting ensures that only the clear wine is poured. This process is especially beneficial for strong old bottles wines, allowing them to reach their full potential.

When To Decant Old Bottles Of Wine?

Timing is everything. Old bottles of wine should be decanted right before serving to preserve their clarity.

For Reds Up to 10 Years Old
  1. Open and decant the wine 30-60 minutes before serving.
  2. No decanter? Open the bottle an hour before pouring to allow the wine to breathe.
Immediate Decanting for Wines 30+ Years Old

For old bottles of wine aged 30 years and more. Immediate decanting is recommended to leave sediment behind. If immediate decanting is not possible. Perform the process as close as possible to the serving time.

  1. Stand the bottle upright to let the sediment settle.
  2. Gently pour into a decanter, leaving sediment behind.

Preparing the Old Red Wine

Old bottles of Wine Are Time Travellers

Tip 1. Let The Wine Stand

Think of the wine as a drowsy performer waking up. Allow it to stand for a while. When you let it stand, you allow the wine to settle. So, it can shake off any sediment it might have picked up during its beauty sleep.

This step is vital for wines with great age, as sediments tend to accumulate over time.

Stand the bottle upright, allowing gravity to guide the sediments to the bottom.

Wine AgeStanding Duration
20 years1-2 Weeks
30 years3-4 weeks (month)
40 years4-6 weeks

Tip 2. Check The Condition Of The Wine

Grab a tiny flashlight and play wine detective. If the wine looks cloudy, don’t panic—it’s just sediment taking a nap at the bottom. Pour quickly after opening to avoid getting the sediment in your glass.

Tip 3. Handle Old Corks Carefully

Use a sharp corkscrew for old bottles of wine with fragile corks. If a cork breaks, push it into the bottle. A broken cork is no reason to compromise the enjoyment of your aged wine.

Tip 4. Choose the Right Decanter

Select a clean and clear decanter to preserve the quality of the wine during the pouring process.

A transparent decanter allows you to monitor the clarity of the wine. Also, it ensures that no additional flavours are introduced during decanting.

  • How to Pour from the Decanter?

Pour the wine slowly and steadily, stopping as soon as you see sediment reaching the neck of the bottle. This ensures that the clear wine is transferred to the decanter while leaving sediment behind.

  • What to do when you don’t have a decanter?

If you don’t have a decanter. Be a DIY hero with a funnel and a coffee filter, unbleached cheesecloth, or muslin. Improvise, adapt, and let the show go on!

How to Decant Old Bottles of Wine with Sediment

  1. Set the old bottles of wine upright for 24 hours before serving. This allows sediment to settle at the bottom.
  2. Grab a decanter or a clear vessel for pouring.
  3. Remove the capsule and cork, and wipe the bottle neck clean.
  4. Hold a light under the bottleneck using a candle or flashlight.
  5. Pour with precision. Pour slowly, without interruption. Slow down even more when reaching the bottom half.
  6. Halt pouring as soon as you spot sediment reaching the bottle’s neck.
  7. Sip and savour. Your wine is now sediment-free and ready to be enjoyed.

Bonus Tips for Old Bottles of Wine

1. Should Old Red Wine Breathe?

Let the wine breathe, enhancing its flavours. Old Bordeaux, Cabernets, Tempranillos, and Rhône appreciate the decanting ritual. Welcoming the breath of fresh air.


Patience is a virtue. Especially when it comes to letting your wine breathe and settle.

However, not all old bottles of wine benefit from breathing. The decision on when to decant should be guided by experience and personal comfort.

2. Old Madeira Decanting

For every decade a Madeira has been bottled. Let it relax in the decanter for a day. If it’s a wine from the ’70s, give it three to four days.

This helps the Madeira breathe, revealing its flavours for a delightful drinking experience. Remember, the longer it’s been bottled, the more air it craves.

Enjoy your well-aged Madeira sip by sip!

Storing Old Madeira: Madeira needs unique storage requirements. It should be stored standing up to prevent cork damage. As they tend to destroy their corks over time.

3. Buying Wine Last Minute? Plan Ahead

For those who don’t have the luxury of a personal wine cellar. Buying old bottles of wine from shops is the norm.

But here’s a secret!

Buy your wine 3-4 days before opening the bottle.

The vintage old bottles of wine need time to settle after transport. In this situation, you can stand the bottle upright, as it will have already been shaken up quite a bit by the time you get it home.

4. Temperature, Glassware, and Serving Tips

Serve your aged red at a slightly cool 12-16°C.

Choose a glass that lets the wine speak for itself. Bordeaux Glass is a favourite among connoisseurs.

When pouring, let the wine glide into the glass like a soft melody—no splashing.

Keep it cool but not cold

Vintage Wine Is The Star

In the world of old red wines, simplicity is the key. From the cellar to your glass, each step is like a dance move. Make sure the wine is the star.

So, here’s to the joy of serving age old bottles of wine. Every sip is a chapter in a vintage tale.


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