It seems as though fancy gadget aerators for wine have become a trendy gift to give to people with a mutual benefit- makes you look like a bit of a wine connoisseur, and, your friend gets to try out a fancy gadget-fun! But is it necessary? Is it money well spent on enhancing your favourite wine, or, is it money wasted that could otherwise be used to buy one of those expensive bottles you have been eyeing?
Why Does Wine Need Oxygen.... Just like us, to breathe, well sort of...
Adding oxygen to wine will begin the oxidation and evaporation process. The less desirable characteristics of the wine (sulphites and ethanol) begin to evaporate faster than those more desirable ones. A wine under seal has been void of oxygen (although some oxygen can get into the bottle through natural corks). What oxidation does, is it begins to wake up naturally occurring compounds in the wine that have otherwise been lying dormant in a dark, temperature controlled, slumber- your cellar!
Too much oxygen will have a negative effect on your wine- just think of that bottle that you didn’t finish (I know it is a rare occasion) and went back to a few days later, it probably tastes more like vinegar than wine. The oxygen had the same effect that it does to a cut up apple. It browns the wine and removes most of its fruit character.
Is Pouring and Swirling Enough?
When you pour wine out into your glass, and swirl it around, you are aerating your wine. If you decant your bottle, you are also adding oxygen as you pour and increasing the surface area of your wine that is exposed to oxygen. Decanting is also necessary (if done correctly) to avoid any sediment from older wines getting into your glass.
Often decanting and even pouring your wine into your glass and letting it sit for 20 minutes is more than enough access to oxygen to begin the “breathing” process.
What does an Aerator claim to have that my handy wrist swirl doesn’t?
An aerator forces air into your wine at a much higher speed than decanting; waiting for the wine to open up, pouring and the handy wrist swirl. Most aerators claim they will get the exact right amount of air into your wine, which is difficult to prove given that different wines require different amounts of exposure to air to make them ideal. For young fruity wine, you might need more air, for old wines, too much air could make them tired. Many people have done countless taste tests and blind tastings to determine whether the aerator is really the way to go, and the results are inconclusive at best.
Aerators seem to be a trendy gadget that may make you look good; but in reality, bringing a $50.00 bottle of wine, instead of a $30.00 bottle with an aerator, will probably be more enjoyable, and, leave a better taste in your friends mouths!
Want to learn more about wine? Why not host a wine event with your friends, co-workers or family? For more information about wine, food and the good life, follow me on Instagram @NewAgeNonna or subscribe to my Blog.