Three favourite decanters
I have a modest collection of perhaps 20 decanters and have test-driven many more. When choosing a decanter I want both form and function. It must look good but it must aerate the wine effectively, pour well and be easy to clean. I have yet to find one decanter that has all those attributes. It seems we must choose either form or function. You can’t have both.
One litre flask
This pyrex laboratory flask is all function but falls a little short in the form department. I love it and am the proud owner of ten of them. They cost me around $15 each a few years ago. Made by the German glass company Schott, the flask has a little frosted square where they can be numbered with a felt-tip pen and a graduated scale so you can see how much wine is in it. It’s made for scientists so it pours wonderfully. I’m the first to admit that it looks a bit, well, laboratory but that is balanced by ease of pouring and cleaning. It loves going in the dishwasher. On the other hand, my wife won’t let me use them when we have dinner parties. (NZD $15)
Spiegelau Angelo Magnum Decanter
Every wine enthusiast should have a magnum decanter. I find magnums very sexy (OK, I’m getting counselling) and have accumulated quite a stash of them. Obviously, I need a magnum decanter. It’s personal, but I think this decanter looks great. It’s a shocker to pour and to clean but its obvious beauty means that I use it regularly. A steal at NZD $180 (normally NZD $360). Marion is happy for me to use it at dinner parties.
Riedel Sommeliers Black Tie Decanter
This was a gift. As far as I can tell it’s not available at retail, but I did find an online retailer who quoted NZD $750 to ship one in from the US. For a couple of years, it sat in its protective box. It was too expensive and too fragile-looking.
The Black Tie Decanter is the sort of thing you might put on the table at a dinner where David Hartnell was the guest of honour. Actually, it’s not that fragile but it is slightly scary to use, although I do admit that it pours well. Cleaning it is a nervous operation. Marion is always keen to decorate the table with it.