Decanting is crucial to experiencing a wine's flavor, says wine critic Will Lyons, because it can dramatically alter its character. If serving a young wine or those made with heavy grape varieties, decanting well before dinner will maximize the wine's benefits. "Exposure to air unfurls the complex layers of flavor in young fine wine," Lyons writes. "A wine that was tight, closed and difficult to taste can, with time in the decanter, transform its personality."
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