I wrote a blog about serving and storing wine a while back, called Moody Teenagers and Grumpy Old Men, maybe worth having a quick re-read of it, but i’ll try sum it up as quick as possible:
Decanting is really important to make the most out of even the most modest of wines.
Young wines (less than 5 years old) need time to wake up a bit and react well to air in order to release their smells and tastes properly. You want to get as much air to them as possible. And give them time, you can decant these buggers for 3 to 4 hours in order to get the best out of them. Try it, it makes a big difference.
Something like this works well (and yes this is a full bottle of wine in there!):
Old wines tend to have a bit of sediment in there, but react less well with air. The alcohol can be fairly volatile and evaporate quicker than you’d like. So you want something fairly flat bottomed for the sediment to settle, and something with a thin neck so the alcohol doesn’t escape as quick.
30 minutes should do the trick in something like this:
You can pick up a half decent decanter online from around £15. They go up to seriously big prices, but remember to just make sure the shape is what you’re after.
If you’re just drinking new-ish vintages (last 5 years or so) then a normal kitchen jug does a decent job. Look for one that’s open at the top, you want to be getting air to as much as possible:
Not the most aesthetically pleasing, but it does a job!