A decanter is a type of vessel used to hold the decantation of a liquid which may include sediment. Decantation is the process involving the separation of mixtures. A wine decanter is often used as a serving unit for wine.
These devices vary greatly in their design and shape. Typically they are made from an inert material like glass. They often have the capacity to hold a standard-sized bottle of the beverage, or approximately 0.75 liters. A similar vessel is known as the carafe. This device is also used to serve drinks, but it does not come with a stopper.
In the past, vessels were a main factor in how this beverage was served. The device would be filled up with a drink from amphoras and brought to the dining table where servants could handle them with ease. Ancient Romans are responsible for pioneering the use of glass for these bottles. When the Roman Empire fell, so did the production of glass. This led to decanters being constructed with silver, earthenware, gold, or bronze.
It was the Venetians who brought back the glass models, around Renaissance times. The 1730s saw the development by British glass makers of a stopper, which limited the exposure to air. Since that period of time, few changes have been made to the structure of this vessel.
The process of decanting includes liquid being moved from one bottle to this vessel. This is for the purpose of separating a small portion of liquid, which contains sediment, from larger volumes of clear liquid that are without. During the practice, sediment is left behind in the original container and the clear liquid is transferred to this vessel.
Another purpose for using a wine decanter is to aerate the drink. This is essentially allowing it to breath. The device is designed to mimic the effects made when the drink is swirled in a glass. It stimulates molecule movement and triggers the aroma compounds.
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