Growing up, one of my favorite things to do was watch my dad decant port and other old wines. Not only because I was a strange child who grew up to run an etiquette website, but also because it was a big production with glassware and candles and expensive wine! Luckily, when I was home for Christmas, my dad was kind enough to go through it with me and let me take pictures for your edification.
The reason why you have to decant port and certain other good wines is that it should be fairly old and thus will have accumulated a lot of sediment which you don’t want to drink. So the idea is that you pour it very slowly into another container, such as a decanter while shining a light through the bottle and you stop pouring when you see the sediment start to approach.
First, you need to collect everything you need: your port (which should have been set upright for at least several hours if not days prior to let the sediment sink to the bottom), your decanter (or a jar or other container), a candle, and a funnel (you can use any kind, it doesn’t have to be a fancy silver one).
Second: Position the bottle over the candle so you can see through the glass into what is happening inside.
Third: Pour slowly and watch for sediment. Get a bigger candle if you need to.
Four: Stop when you start to see a lot of sediment coming out. Optional: filter the remainder through a coffee filter into a glass so you can see just how much gross sludge isn’t getting into the nice port you will be drinking! (It’s hard to tell in the picture but there was SO MUCH you guys and it was all gooey!)
Five: Enjoy! If your decanter is made out of older crystal, it might have lead in it, so it should be drunk right away and not stored long term!