Wine is all around us, from visiting wineries to enjoying a glass with a friend, it is a popular drink. Even with its popularity, wine still has some mysterious elements to it. One of the lesser known intricacies of wine is proper aeration. To help de-mystify the process we are here to explain the basics of wine aeration; such as when to aerate your wines, which wines can benefit from aeration, and helpful tools to allow you to fully enjoy that special bottle you have been saving.
First, let’s start with the basics: what does wine aeration do and what is the purpose? Wine aeration is the process of exposing wine to air which causes two things to happen: oxidation and evaporation. Oxidation is beneficial to wine because it helps mellow out strong, overpowering flavors. In combination with oxidation, evaporation removes ethanol from the wine which can overwhelm more delicate flavors and aromas.
Next, we’ll talk about how to aerate your wine and different ways this process is done.
Opening the Bottle
Aeration occurs when the wine is exposed to air, but simply opening the bottle isn’t enough. However, this limited type of aeration doesn’t have a noticeable effect, so usually the wine is further aerated in two ways: decanting the wine, or pouring the wine through an aerator.
Decanting is the process of pouring the wine into a wine decanter and letting it sit. A decanter usually has a wide base which allows a greater exposure to air helping the wine oxidize and “breathe”. This process takes anywhere from 20 minutes to 3 hours but the longer you let it sit, the more the wine opens up. Due to the time involved, we recommend decanting for a more leisurely dinner or occasion.
For a speedier aeration process, many people choose to use an aerator. An aerator is a device that allows air to circulate through the wine as you pour it. After you pour the wine into either a glass or decanter, it is good to let the wine sit for a little bit to let it fully aerate.
Now that you know the purpose of aerating and how it’s done, you’re probably wondering what wines benefit from aeration. Young red wines and tannic wines are best suited for aeration due to the fact that they are denser and tighter. Aeration opens and softens the wine, making it easier to drink and brings forward more flavors that would otherwise be overpowered. In general, most red wines and heavier bodied whites will benefit from aeration. A good way to tell if you are unsure is to try aerating a small glass and seeing if you prefer the wine aerated or not.
The bottle you want to avoid aerating is an aged wine in its peak. This is due to the fact that it is already fully developed and over exposure to air will cause the flavors in it to fade. When serving wines in their peak, we recommend pouring them into a decanter right before serving to remove sediment. In this case the decanter is not used to aerate.
If you’re looking to elevate your wine drinking experience, GiftTree offers a variety of decanters and aerators. Our Monogrammed Decanter with Aerator gives you the best of both worlds. This beautiful glass decanter comes with a detachable aerator that allows you to aerate and filter your wine letting you enjoy it to the fullest. Also, check out our wide selection of wine to find the perfect bottle for your next occasion.