Special dinners and dates are often incomplete without a bottle of fine wine, especially for wine lovers. However, wine drinkers are very particular about their wines’ taste because they consider life too short to drink bad-tasting wine.
Nevertheless, fine wines are nothing without the perfect aroma and flavor. The question now is how to get rich flavor and taste from wine. The simple answer to this is by aerating it.
Wine aeration means letting the wine breathe by exposing it to surrounding air, thereby allowing it to mingle with the wine. The process is also known as decanting.
You might be wondering why wine needs to be oxygenated or aerated and what kinds of wine need to be aerated, and the duration, among many others.
With that said, continue reading to learn more about how to aerate the wine and everything about it.
I. Why Do I Need to Aerate Wine?
As mentioned earlier, wine can breathe when mixed with some air during the aeration process. By letting your wine undergo this process, it will have a better flavor. This is because combining it with air releases its natural aroma and flavors.
As a result, you get to enjoy better tasting wine. Additionally, since you expose the wine to air, a simulation of wine molecules occurs, which blends it more and warms it.
There are other reasons to aerate wine. For example, tannin, a chemical element found in wines, gives this drink a tart and astringent taste. Tannin is particularly prevalent in young wines, giving them a stronger and harsher taste.
The tannin’s strong and harsh taste can overpower the wine’s natural flavor, making it difficult to enjoy. On the other hand, for older wines, tannin becomes milder and mixes with the taste as it ages.
Aerating your wine can help reduce the tannin’s overpowering taste. It can also help eliminate the unpleasant smell you sometimes encounter after uncorking a wine bottle.
However, uncorking the bottle and just allowing it open for some time is not what wine aeration is all about. Additionally, this is not the recommended method in aerating wine since there is less range for wine to breathe.
The process of wine aeration is like art. You can perfect it when all the aspects of the process are done correctly and at the right time.
II. When Do I Aerate Wine?
One way to know when to aerate wine is to ask your local wine shop vendor if the bottle of wine you wine needs to be aerated before drinking. You can also know if the wine needs to be aerated or not by swirling a small amount of wine and doing a simple taste test.
You can compare if the taste is better straight from the bottle after aerating it. If you cannot taste any slight difference or there is a tad difference after your first sip, you can try aerating the wine.
Additionally, you can tone down some overpowering elements of the wine or tannins that are too intense by aerating. Generally, young red wines benefit the most when aerated.
Since they have the most tannins, it is best to aerate them for an hour to help soften the tannins and fully integrate them into the wine, giving it a more distinct flavor. White wines do not need to be aerated for too long. You can aerate them for 30 minutes at most.
III. Different Ways to Aerate Wine
- Swirling a Wine Glass
This is one of the most commonly practiced, unintentional, and somewhat effective methods of aerating wine. You have most likely done this when enjoying a glass of fine wine.
When a caged and aged bottle of wine is uncorked and poured into a wide-mouth and hollow wine glass, it is like the wine is stretching its arms.
That is because it has ample air and space to breathe. Therefore, investing in a good wine glass is a must for this wine aeration method to be effective.
When you do this method, you need to consider the age of the wine. Young red wines need to be aerated for hours to stretch well in the glass and breathe better. Meanwhile, other kinds of wines can be aerated more easily.
Nevertheless, a mature, old, and fragile wine can get all the air it needs by simply swirling it in a glass. You just need to consume it fast and not let it sit for an hour since it can result in an extremely sour taste.
- Pouring Between Two Pitchers Repetitively
This method is not as tricky as swirling wine in a wine glass. Nonetheless, it is still beneficial. You will need two pitchers that are lightweight, wide-mouthed, and easy to pour for this method.
After you uncork your wine, you pour the desired amount into one pitcher and then pour the wine into the other pitcher. It would be best if you made sure to pour at a considerable height to avoid spilling.
Doing this can give the strong tannins more air exposure because there is more interaction with the air when the wine is transferred from one pitcher to another at a considerable speed.
For younger red wines, you need to do the process repeatedly. This will reduce the necessary breathing time from hours to several minutes. You can do this 15 times first and then taste the wine.
If the tannins are still too strong, you can do it several more times. You can use a funnel to pour the wine using bottles or directly do it using your wine glass to taste it right away.
- Blending the Tannins
Softening the tannins is one of the main goals of aerating wine. This method is one of the easiest. The principle of this method is the faster the speed of the wine, the faster it moves. The greater the motion, there will be more interaction giving you the result you want.
You need to pour your wine into a blender to do this. You can also use a food processor with a blade attachment as a substitute if you do not have a blender.
Like other methods, you need to check and see if the wine is younger and has strong tannins. If you make the mistake of blending an aged wine, your wine will mature faster, making it taste like vinegar.
For this method, you need to first turn on your blender and allow your wine to mix on a high setting for 15 to 20 seconds. You can try once more and test if the aeration is suitable for your taste.
If not, you can do the whole process again. Blending the tannins can give you good results in minutes or better, in seconds. If bubbles are forming, do not panic as this is normal.
- Using Decanters
Decanters have been used for the longest time to keep, place, and serve wine. Moreover, it has also been used for decades to aerate wine. A decanter is made of glass or crystal. It is used to decant liquids that have sediments, such as wine.
The capacity of decanters is the same as a single standard bottle of wine. Decanters are also available in various forms and shapes so that wine can be exposed to air well. They are also one of the best ways to make wines breathe and oxidize and aerate them naturally.
Many wine experts highly recommend this method. However, they only recommend this for wines with high tannin content. Using decanters can be more dangerous for delicate wines such as Pinot noir and Chianti.
The first thing you need to do is to set your wine aside for around 24 hours. This is to allow sediments to settle down. It would be best if you took note of your wine’s age.
Before you serve young red wines, pour them into a decanter for several hours. You should stop pouring if you notice sediments near the bottle’s neck or if you notice that the wine gets foggy.
With the advancement of technology, there are already aerators that can be used to aerate wine. With these devices, aeration has been made quicker and easier.
Aerators are compact tools that can be attached to the mouth of a wine bottle. After using one, you can enjoy a bottle of wine with better taste and flavor while pouring.
This is possible because aerators make the velocity of wine high and allows much air to get in rapidly. Not only are aerators effective, but they are also simple to use.
Visiting wine events, choosing wine over other alcoholic drinks when socializing, and sipping wine to relax makes one a wine lover. However, it’s essential to understand concepts like aeration to help you enjoy your wine more.
With that said, you now have a better understanding of aerating wine, why and when you need to do it, and the different methods of doing so. You just need to remember to check your wine so that the ways given will be effective.