Updated: June 8, 2015

Best Riedel Wine Decanters

In this buying guide we will cover what to look for when buying a wine decanter, review the various Riedel decanters, and help you find the best prices. What is a wine decanter? Do you need to decant wine? Decanting is the process of pouring wine from the original bottle into another vessel (usually glass), leaving any sediments behind in the old bottle and out of your glass. A good wine decanter aerates the wine and lets it breathe, bringing out it's flavors and aromas, much as you do when you swirl wine in a glass before drinking. Normally, decanting is only done with heavier wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, Barolo, etc. since these wines have stronger tannin flavors and are usually aged longer. But many people also decant other wines just for the aesthetic purpose of serving the wine from a delicate crystal wine decanter instead of a dripping wine bottle. If you enjoy fine wine, chances are you are already familiar with the name Riedel. When it comes to wine glassware, Riedel (pronounced "ree-dell" or "reedle") is perhaps the most respected manufacturer in the world. Riedel glassware is custom made for specific types of wines (what they call "functional" wine glasses) -- each glass has a different size and shape to bring out the flavors and aromas of particular wines. The glasses are also large -- you don't fill them to the top, you are supposed to pour in a normal amount of wine and allow the vast, hollow space inside the glass to bring the aromas to you. Their decanters offer no less in terms of elegance and function. Whether buying for yourself or as a gift, a Riedel wine decanter is something you can enjoy for a lifetime.

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You can browse the up-to-date list of best-selling Riedel wine decanters here. We compared prices on the official Riedel website (Riedel.com) vs. what Amazon offered, and in most cases Amazon prices were 20% lower.

Riedel Decanter Styles

Riedel wine decanters are handmade from lead crystal, and are among the finest examples of old-world European glassmaking. Most Riedel decanters are clear glass, though they also offer "Black" varietals of some models. The Black versions are opaque (you can't see inside), so they are perfect for blind taste testings, or if you just want a very stylish, modern design to your glassware. I think I have seen only one friend with a Black Riedel wine decanter, so they definitely make a statement (if you buy one as a gift, the recipient is sure to be impressed). In terms of sizes, the normal decanters are made to hold a single bottle of wine (750ml). Riedel also offers Magnum sizes on some models, which hold 2 bottles of wine, or 1500ml (do NOT mix bottles please!). The normal size decanters weigh about 1.5 - 2 lbs, while the Magnum sizes can weigh from 2.5 lbs - 4 lbs. So while these are crystal and should be handled carefully, they are also pretty solid. Which Riedel decanter should you buy? Which is the best? Keep in mind that all these decanters are designed to handle mainly heavy, red wines, and they all do a good job. Pick the look, size, and color you like best - they are really all like works of fine art and not just wine accessories. It really comes down more to style and design -- we will outline the most popular models below.

RECOMMENDED: The Riedel O Wine Decanter (about $150) is one of the most popular models out there. It is less expensive than some of the more exclusive Riedel decanters, but offers all the same functionality and style. Pictured at right, it is shaped like a traditional crystal pitcher and stands almost 9 inches tall. It is sometimes called the "Thumbs Up" since it's design features a large bubble shape in the bottom (called a "punt") that lets you insert your thumb and cup the bulb in your hand when you pour. The shape reminds me of a flower or a candle flame - it's one of my favorites for its simplicity. I've given these as gifts on many occasions and they have always been well-received. BUY FROM AMAZON.

riedel amadeo wine decanter The (RECOMMENDED) Riedel Amadeo (around $300) is named after Mozart (Amadeus) - imagine a glass tube bent into the shape of a tear drop or a "U", and you can almost see it. One side is wider that the other -- that is the handle used for pouring the wine through the narrower side. A Black version is also available. With the hollow center, this is one of the most complex, mouth-blown designs they offer -- it really looks like a piece of glass sculpture sitting on your counter or table. This is a step up from the "O" listed above, and it shows. Just an amazing piece of crystal.

Riedel Cornetto Decanters (about $160, available in Black, shown in picture, and Magnum size) looks like an oversized carafe with a long, curving neck -- kind of like a goose or swan. It stands just over 12 inches tall, while the Magnum version is almost 18" tall (as a comparison, a standard wine bottle is about 12".

The Riedel Flamingo Decanter ($320) can sometimes be tough to find. At almost 2 feet tall with a very long, slender neck, the Flamingo really looks the part of its name. It has an angle-cut rim and a gorgeous base with a deep punt (the area pushed up inside the bulb, looks like an air bubble at the bottom) that makes it easy to get a thumb in there when you hold and pour. Though it looks delicate, with most of the weight at the bottom, the Flamingo is really quite stable when sitting on your table.

The Riedel Ultra Decanter ($190) (also in Magnum) is pictured to the right. It looks like a more traditional decanter, with a wide bowl for a base, a narrow neck which makes it easy to hold and pour, and a generous mouth rim. We like to think of it as a genie bottle, but the magic is the wine you pour!

riedel duck wine decanter The Riedel Duck Decanter (around $200) has a very unique shape, looking like headless duck. It is about 13 inches long and just over 5 inches tall. I think it looks a little like a gravy boat as well, but of course that doesn't sound as elegant! However, it's shape does make it easier to handle and pour for many people (the bulb shaped ones make you really tip them to get them to pour, and it sometimes feels like they are going to spill, though they don't). I do like the distinct, unique shape, and of course it works wonderfully as a decanter, bringing your wine to life.



Riedel also makes a number of other decanters like the Tyrol, Swam, Paloma, Vinum, Sommeliers, Dominus, Pannona, Medoc, and Pomerol. You can browse the entire Riedel family at Amazon if you want to delve deeper into some other designs (you'll also find some more entry-level decanters priced in the $30-$60 range, like the Riedel Cabernet Decanter, Syrah Decanter, and Merlot Decanter). In terms of accessories, we also recommend looking into a wine funnel for pouring your wine into the decanter without splashing (strainer included to keep sediment out) and Riedel Bottle Cleaner Beads (just $10 bucks) for getting into the hard-to-reach areas of the decanter when you wash by hand.

Riedel Wine Glasses

Even before they made wine decanters, Riedel made wine glasses. In fact, their history goes back more than 250 years in the glass making business. Fortunately, Amazon has built a custom Riedel Wine Store which breaks out and highlights each type of glass for each type of wine. Included are the O glasses, the Vinum, the Ouverture, the Tyrol, and more. While they offer cocktail glasses as well, we'd stay focussed on the wine glasses - that is really their specialty.