For young wines, an aerator does the trick perfectly. But for aged wines or really big reds, wine decanters are absolutely essential to the taste. So we searched high and low and found the Three Best Wine Decanters at a non-millionaire prices.
We promise each one of these lovely wine decanters will enhance the nez and bouche of your wine exponentially.
There are basically four styles of wine decanter styles: the Duck, the Cornet, the Standard, and the Swan.
Each has its own group of enthusiasts. But in the end, the differences are mostly artistic. The well-designed ones, no matter which style, all do a great job of aeration. And of course, it is getting air into the wine that is the whole purpose of decanting wine.
Your ultimate decision may center more on visual aesthetics and art than on anything else. And that’s ok. As long as the wine decanter does the job wine decanters are supposed to do.
If you think you have cabin fever after several months of Covid-19 isolation, just think about that sweet libation that has been corked inside a bottle for ten years.
As important as visual aesthetics in a wine decanter are, remember the purpose of a wine decanter is to allow the wine to breathe before you drink it. And when you dig to the center, that means the decanter must provide as wide a surface for the wine to touch air as possible.
Quality of construction, balance of the decanter in the hand, ease of use, ease of cleaning, durability, and cost all play a role in long-term satisfaction.
But before we begin, let me share that So Frenchly is an Amazon Affiliate, which means we may make a (very) small amount on sales linked from our article. But you can rest assured it costs you absolutely nothing and it in no way influences our reviews of products. And, more important, it helps us continue to bring you unbiased independent reviews like this one.
Now to the IMPORTANT thing, the best wine decanters!
The Reidel is the wine decanter that may be most familiar. It is on the pricey end of the spectrum, if not the most so. But Reidel is often considered the gold standard. And gold it takes. This darling little crystal ducky is typically priced between $200 and $250.
I include the Riedel Duck wine decanter here not because I find it particularly “moderately-priced,” but to give you a point of comparison for the lower-priced versions of the Duck that I recommend as my moderately-priced pick.
The Duck Wine Decanter from Riedel is available on Amazon. It has a capacity of 31 3/4 ounces and it stands 12.9 x 5.75 x 5.2 in. The empty weight is 2.5 pounds. It is constructed of hand blown, lead-free crystal.
The characteristic that sets it apart from any other competitor is the huge surface it provides for the wine. You can get an idea of it just from looking at the picture here.
But there are several lower-priced alternatives that work quite well.
The one that comes closest to the Reidel’s surface mass for aeration is this one from Wine Enthusiast.
At 42-ounce capacity, we actually like this Break-Resistant Fusion Duck decanter better than the Reidel because of the way it is weighted. We find the Reidel difficult to pour. And, in fact, many of the consumer reviews have pointed this out. Some even say the Riedel Duck has a terrible problem with dripping. But we have found absolutely no customer reviews complaining of this with Wine Enthusiast’s Fusion Duck.
The Fusion Duck is a lot easier to hold and pour. And the price is less than a third of the Riedel.
This is also hand blown, lead-free crystal, but it is marketed as break-resistant. It stand 14x7x7 so it is slightly larger than the Riedel version. And at an empty weight of 2.85 pounds it is just slightly heavier than the Riedel.
The biggest complaint consumers seem to have about this wine decanter is that it is hard to clean. But that seems to be a difficulty with all Duck-style decanters. Ease of cleaning appears to be a trade-off one makes for maxing out the air surface in a Duck-style decanter regardless of the company that manufactures it.
The Fusion Duck from Wine Enthusiast is available on Amazon, usually for about $80.
Lennox Tuscany Classics Pierced Decanter
We also particularly like this wine decanter by Lennox called the Tuscany Classics Pierced Decanter, typically available on Amazon for around $40.
As you can see, this wine decanter is less than a tenth of the price of the Reidel Duck and half the price of Wine Enthusiast’s Fusion Duck. It stands 9 1/2 inches high from the table and holds 48 ounces. Overall it stands 11x4x9. Empty weight is 3 pounds.
What this wine decanter lacks in artistic panache, it makes up for in ease of use.
From a price standpoint, the Lennox is a fantastic buy. But you can see that it does not have anywhere near the air surface as the other two Duck decanters.
The Lennox Tuscany Pierced Decanter is an excellent decanter on a budget — but if you can squeak upwards just a bit, we find Wine Enthusiast’s Fusion Duck works better.
That said, the Lennox version of the Duck is lead-free glass, well made, and quite durable. Although a flexible bottle brush is helpful, we find it easy to clean, pleasing to the eye, and well balanced — which makes it easy to pour. The price belies the quality. Overall, we find this an excellent value.
All the rest are lovely, but we are going to tell you here, we are utterly obsessed with this budget-friendly wine decanter by Le Chateau.
Engineered by those crafty Canadians, this little baby isn’t wildly anything except smart.
The Le Chateau wine decanter is hand-blown, lead-free crystal that stands 10×8.5×8.5 and is only 1.5 pounds empty. It’s engineered to hold a standard 750 ml bottle of wine to expose a maximum air surface.
Purchasers uniformly rave about it. Many mention they love how easily the angled top both aerates wine as you pour it into the decanter and creates a drip-free spout as you pour from the decanter into a glass.
To our eye, this is classically beautiful with no weird gimmicks. And we love the light weight of the decanter, which makes it so much easier to pour when it is filled with a bottle of wine. It takes up an amazingly small amount of storage space for the aeration area it provides the wine.
You can usually find the Le Chateau Wine Decanter on Amazon with a price that runs between $40 and $50.
So what do we consider the overall best wine decanter?
We purchased the Le Chateau. What more can we say. Best $40 we ever spent.
And honestly, we love it.
And no, we do not use it with every wine every time we open a bottle. We sometimes only use an aerator. And we often pour through an aerator into the decanter to speed up the process a bit. At least if it is not a fine well-aged bottle. For fine aged-wine we just wait the air time in the decanter.
For big reds and aged wines, absolutely nothing takes the place of a good decanter.
And for beauty on the dinner table, we always choose to decant wine over the evening. When we have dinner guests or whenever we expect to drink the full bottle over the evening, the decanter comes out.
One final note on cleaning.
We highly recommend a flexible cleaning brush no matter which style of wine decanter suits your fancy.
We have found we particularly like this little set of brushes from a company called Coralpearl.
We have found these two brushes invaluable when it comes time to rinse out the wine decanter or to give it a nice little scrub. These bottle brushes have soft bristles and the necks of them are highly flexible so you can bend them down into almost anything to get it fully clean. We use them on our reusable water bottles as well as our wine decanter.
You can find the Coralpearl Utility Bottle Cleaning Brush set on Amazon, usually for $10-$12.
Be sure to also read our recent article about when to decant and when to aerate wine here.
And you can find our review on the best wine aerators here.