How to best serve wine?
Note: these things are if you have a very special bottle of wine and want to do everything to the best. We rarely do any of it most of the time.
Before a bottle is opened, it is wise to stand it upright for several hours, or preferably overnight, to enable any sediment to settle to the bottom of the bottle. If the wine has thrown a heavy sediment, then you may wish to decant the wine.
Natural sediments are quite harmless and occur especially with wines that are unfiltered or lightly filtered. But they aren't a pleasant feel on the palate.
As to whether the bottle should be opened some time before drinking the wine, this depends on the wine itself.
Lighter fruity wines, like whites or lighter Beaujolais wines, do not really need time to breathe and the fruity aromas and flavour will be evident as soon as it is opened. Though as they age, there are, as always, exceptions. Our mature Beaujolais deserves time to come out of its shell.
Older and heavier wines however, need some time to allow aeration of the wine before serving. We try to give an indication on wines which really benefit from opening time.
If you don't have time to allow the wine to breathe properly the process can be accelerated by decanting, using a decanter in which the wine is exposed to a larger surface area in which to come in contact with air. Some people decant and return the wine to the bottle, others leave in the decanter, and again it depends on the decanter and the wine, too.
In general, do not decant natural, no sulfite wines, unless they are of the "already oxidized" type.