Efficiently decants any 750 mL bottle of wine
Slanted spout makes for easy pouring
Easy to clean
A bit expensive
Interior doesn’t fully dry
Whether you’re an avid wine collector or a casual weekend drinker, you probably know that decanting wine is crucial. Decanting is recommended for two major reasons: it improves the taste of your wine by removing the bitterness of tannins and releasing its aromas and flavors, and two, it separates out the sediment. Red wines, in particular, generally need to be decanted. Old, young, and especially tannic wines can greatly benefit from the oxygenating process—but there’s no harm in decanting any wine that tastes flat or closed on first taste.
With so many intricately designed decanters and decanting systems on the market, it can be easy to overlook the classic shape (think large, flat bottom, long neck, and slanted spout) that comes to mind when you think “decanter.” To see how the old stands up to the new, we tested the Le Chateau Wine Decanter which is one such classic model. Keep reading for our full assessment.
Design: Classic and elegant
The Le Chateau Wine Decanter’s classic shape makes it elegant enough to double as a decorative accent in your kitchen or living room. Its 100 percent lead-free, handblown crystal construction is lightweight enough that it’s not too cumbersome to pour when filled, but sturdy enough that you won’t fear breaking it with the slightest touch, either. Plus, with an 1800 milliliter capacity, it’s plenty large enough for a full bottle of wine.
Its 100 percent lead-free, handblown crystal construction is lightweight enough that it’s not too cumbersome to pour when filled, but sturdy enough that you won’t fear breaking it with the slightest touch.
Other than delivering on design, the classic shape is engineered for functionality. Its wide base provides a large surface area where an entire750 mL bottle of wine can adequately breathe,. Sediment also sinks to the decanter’s base and remains pooled at the bottom when you pour, and its diagonal spout apportions a thin, steady stream of wine for easy, drip-free serving.
Performance: Aerates wine beautifully
We first tested our Le Chateau Wine Decanter with a (very) inexpensive 2016 Chianti to find out how transformative the effects could be. Pre-decanting, the wine smelled slightly acidic, and its bitter taste overwhelmed the Chianti’s characteristic tart cherry notes—clear signs of a wine in need of a good airing out to mellow the tannins and bring out those fruity flavors.
We were happy to find that the decanter’s mouth is wide enough to pour into without worrying about spilling or dripping. Young wines, like the Chianti we tested, can be decanted for up to a couple of hours before serving, so we let our wine sit for two hours.
After aerating, we could almost imagine that our Chianti cost more than $20.
After its oxygen bath, the wine’s acidic burn softened and the texture became velvety smooth. We could now taste the cherry, too, and detected some floral notes we hadn’t noticed when first opening the bottle.
Bottom line: This decanter delivers on its promise. After aerating, we could almost imagine that our Chianti cost more than $20.
Care: Easy to wash, difficult to dry
We decided to hand wash the decanter both before using it for the first time (which is recommended), and after we’d finished our red wine to mitigate staining. The Le Chateau Wine Decanter is technically dishwasher-safe, but as is the case with most crystal stemware and glassware, hand washing is still the recommended cleaning method.
Although the manufacturer doesn’t provide care instructions, we took to the Internet to figure out the best approach—and as it turns out, there’s more than one way to clean crystal decanters, which are especially vulnerable to scrapes, stains, and markings. (Crushed eggshells, rice, denture tablets, and a small amount of the wine itself are among the more unique cleaning methods we’ve seen.)
We opted to simply rinse our decanter with hot water and a drop of gentle, fragrance-free soap to not risk affecting the flavors of the wine. Thanks to its straightforward shape, this was pretty easy to do—we just sat the decanter in our sink, allowed it to fill up with water, poured it out, and repeated the process until the water ran clear of soap residue.
We then dried the exterior with a soft cloth to prevent water spots and allowed the interior to air dry. The decanter’s exterior was completely dry in under an hour, but the interior didn’t fully dry for about a day—a common problem with decanters of this shape which trap moisture inside their wide base. We repeated this method after using the decanter, and were happy to find that every trace of the red wine had washed away. But because of the tricky interior, we would recommend purchasing a drying stand or decanter brush.
Price: Reasonable for a high performer
With an MSRP of $49.95, the Le Chateau Wine Decanter is moderately priced compared to similarly shaped crystal decanters. If you’re skeptical of the price, you can certainly find cheaper models on the market (some cost as little as $15). While budget models with the same classic shape will ensure functionality, we can’t guarantee that the quality, durability, and aesthetic beauty of the material will live up to Le Chateau.
Le Chateau Wine Decanter vs. Wine Enthusiast Fusion Duck Decanter
We were curious about how this classic decanter performed against some of the more complicated designs on the market—like the Wine Enthusiast Fusion Duck Decanter (view on Amazon). It’s beautiful, elegant design can easily double as an art piece, perhaps even more than the Le Chateau Wine Decanter (depending on your taste, of course).
We found that the Le Chateau Wine Decanter and the Wine Enthusiast Duck Decanter performed exactly the same way: Both did a stellar job of efficiently oxygenating a standard 750 mL bottle. We did notice that the Le Chateau model requires slightly less effort to pour in and out of than its competitor, though, and the cleaning process was a little easier, too.
That being said, we never quite got the hang of completely drying the Le Chateau’s interior, but noticed the Wine Enthusiast Duck Decanter’s interior was completely dry, with no excess moisture to speak of, in a matter of hours after washing.
Ultimately, what might help you choose between the two is the price tag: The Le Chateau Wine Decanter retails for $50, while the Wine Enthusiast Duck Decanter goes for $80. If you’re most concerned with the decanter’s performance over aesthetics, we think you can’t go wrong with the Le Chateau.
Yes, buy it.
The Le Chateau Wine Decanter should be a bar-cart staple for any wine drinker, whether their collection boasts a stocked, curated cellar, or merely the occasional bottle stored on top of the fridge. Its classically engineered shape is reliable and simple to use, while its lead-free crystal material is surprisingly easy to care for. Almost any kind of wine you use in this decanter will improve in flavor—or, at the very least, it’ll look pretty in the crystal container.
- Product Name Wine Decanter
- Product Brand Le Chateau
- MPN SYNCHKG083779
- Price $49.95
- Weight 2.16 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 8.5 x 8.5 x 10 in.
- Material Non-leaded crystal
- Size 1800 mL.