Magnesium-reinforced crystal is break-resistant
Nature-inspired shape looks beautiful on display
Surprisingly easy to use
Interior air-dries more efficiently than other decanters
Beautifully decants any bottle of red you wish
Harder to clean than traditional decanters
At the very least, a good wine decanter should be able to oxygenate your wine, separate sediment, pour without dripping, and be easy to clean. But as wine lovers tend to be a sensualist bunch, they’ll probably appreciate a decanter that’s as aesthetically pleasing as it is functional—and the Wine Enthusiast Fusion Duck Decanter is just that.
There’s no doubt that this hand-blown, avian-esque decanter would make a beautiful centerpiece, but we wondered whether it would work as well as a traditional one. To find out, we did the only sensible thing we could think of: stock up on red wine. Keep reading to see what we found after a couple of weeks of testing.
Design: Sculptural and elegant
The first thing you’ll notice about the Wine Enthusiast Duck Decanter will undoubtedly be its unique shape. As the name suggests, the design is meant to resemble a duck in water, with a long, oval-shaped body that rests on its belly, a tapered tail, an elegant neck, and a swooping handle that might mimic the bird’s wing (or an especially graceful splash of water). The handle is actually functional, too; in addition to helping you pour, its foot creates a second base.
The fanciful handle feels especially substantial.
Like many decanters on the market, the Wine Enthusiast Duck Decanter is made of hand-blown, lead-free crystal. But what sets this decanter apart from others like it (other than its imaginative shape, of course), is that the material is engineered to withstand cracks, breakage, and other kinds of damage—a bonus if you’re notoriously butter-fingered. So while its ornamental design screams “fragile,” in reality the 14.5-liter decanter is surprisingly sturdy. It has a bit of heft to it, but not so much that it becomes too heavy to pour. The fanciful handle feels especially substantial, too.
Performance: A+ all around
We tested the decanter with a young Pinot Noir. Fully opened up, this varietal should smell like red berries, leather, and cloves, and on tasting, it should feel full but silky. We could just about detect a berry scent when we first opened the bottle, but the tannins cut through its richness and complexity. And while it went down fairly smoothly, our sensitive palate was still overwhelmed by tannic bitterness.
Having only used traditionally shaped decanters before, we were a little iffy about how to actually get the wine from the bottle into this perpendicular decanter. Obviously, we thought it would take a little more effort than simply pouring the bottle directly into the mouth. Turns out we seriously overthought the process. All we had to do was fit the mouth of the bottle into the decanter’s mouth and pour, without needing to tilt or manipulate the decanter at all.
We checked on our wine after 30 minutes. After that relatively small amount of time, we could smell the leather notes that’d previously been buried beneath a layer of acidity. Because of this decanter’s combination of unusual design and hardy construction, we were also skeptical about how easy (or not) it would be to pour our wine into a glass. Here, again, we were proven wrong. In fact, the Wine Enthusiast’s perpendicular design means less heavy lifting—all we needed to do was slightly tilt the spout to our wine glass’ rim, and the wine poured out slowly offering even greater control. When we poured our glass, we found that the aeration process had properly dissolved the tannins and went down as smoothly as this varietal rightly should.
We checked on our wine after 30 minutes. After that relatively small amount of time, we could smell the leather notes that’d previously been buried beneath a layer of acidity.
Thirty minutes was a perfectly acceptable amount of time to let our wine aerate, but after yet another half-hour in the Wine Enthusiast Duck Decanter, we found that our Pinot revealed even more layers of flavor and took on an even more drinkable texture. Overall, we couldn’t be happier with the results.
Care: Some manipulation required to clean, but dries quickly
Because of its shape, the Wine Enthusiast decanter is a bit more difficult to clean than a classically shaped decanter. We clean our traditional, wide-bottomed decanter by sitting it in the sink and rinsing it out with warm water and a drop of fragrance-free dish soap, but clearly, we couldn’t do the same thing with this duck-shaped model. Instead, we poured a tiny amount of dish soap into the mouth, then (very carefully) held the body while angling the spout beneath the sink, letting the water run through until clear.
We then dried the exterior with a soft cloth and let the interior air dry. Unlike our traditionally shaped decanter, the Wine Enthusiast decanter’s interior was completely dry within a few hours—no specially purchased drying racks or decanter brushes required.
Price: Priced for design and performance
With an $80 price tag, the Wine Enthusiast is more expensive than your average decanter. But depending on your budget and personal preference, that price may be justified by its beautiful design which can double as an art piece on your bar cart, bookshelf, or coffee table. Keep in mind, too, that this decanter can be engraved with initials if you buy it directly from the manufacturer which would make it a thoughtful gift.
Competition: Equally unique designs at different price points
Wine Enthusiast Art Series Silhouette Black Stripe Wine Decanter: If you have your heart set on a unique decanter, consider this sculptural piece from Wine Enthusiast. Its shape is a little like a Rorschach test (we see an open knot, a musical note, and a brass instrument), which makes this an excellent conversation piece. Its black accent stripe adds an element of interest, too, and reviewers say this decanter performs just as beautifully as it looks. At $100, however, the Wine Enthusiast Silhouette Wine Decanter (view on Amazon) is a bit of a splurge.
WBSEos U-Shape Classic Wine Carafe: If you don’t have a huge budget but you also don’t want to skimp on style, this horn-shaped decanter from WBSEos (view on Amazon), might be your best bet. It’s made of lead-free, hand-blown crystal glass, and its swan-like design makes an elegant addition to your bar cart. And at $25, this elegant decanter is a fraction of the price of both Wine Enthusiast’s Duck Decanter and Silhouette Decanter.
If you have the budget, go for it.
The Wine Enthusiast Fusion Duck Decanter is the rare tool that doesn’t sacrifice performance in lieu of design. It’s not surprising, then, that this is among the higher priced decanters on the market. If you truly value style, make room in your budget for this substantial purchase. Otherwise, consider a similarly stylish shape for less money.
- Product Name Fusion Duck Decanter
- Product Brand Wine Enthusiast
- MPN 762 05
- Price $79.95
- Weight 42 oz.
- Material Crystal
- Warranty 10-year limited warranty