Wine & Wine Equipment Expert / Founder at Kosmonaut
Daniel has always been a wine enthusiast, ever since being a student at Cornell. Following his BBA in Business, he attended The Culinary Institute of America, to study a Masters in Wine and Beverage Management, where he further expanded his expertise in all things relating to wine and wine equipment.
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Speaking to a wine consumer will open your eyes to wine cultures, many of which will be surprising. Aerating wines is one information casual wine drinkers might not know about. They might only be aware of the benefits of chilling white wine and serving it to guests to make for an entertaining night.
But if you are here because you opened a bottle of white wine with an unpleasant aroma and wish to know why? You are in the right place.
Aerating wine diffuses its unpleasant aroma and enriches its taste. It is a helpful tip many people use to get things flowing in the right direction in their wine experience.
This begs the question, should you aerate white wine? As a rule of thumb, you should not aerate white wines because of their production method. But there are exceptions. This article will cover these exceptions and tips on aerating wine effectively.
What Kind of White Wine Should You Aerate?
Some critics stand firmly against wine aerating, believing it makes no difference. At the same time, many others are staunch believers in aerating wine.
Generally, white wines do not benefit from wine aeration because it does not have the same qualities as red wines. But white wines that pack a similar punch and complexity as a typical red wine would benefit significantly from aeration. Wines like White Bordeaux, Burgundies, Sauvignon Blancs, Chardonnays, and Alsace benefit from aerating.
Also, aerating white wines with reduced flavor profiles and scents caused by prolonged storage or bottle shock can improve them slightly. Aerating a bottle of wine exposes the wine to oxygen, improving its character, softening its tannins, and revealing flavor notes that brighten the taste buds. So after you open a bottle of white wine with a bad aroma, expose it to air for about thirty minutes to sit and breathe.
Most of the wines in the market are manufactured for immediate consumption with no room for aging. So the wine will likely not have the tannins or complexities that require said aeration, depending on the brand and production quality.
How Long Should I Aerate White Wine?
For most wine connoisseurs, it is a common practice to aerate red wines. However, some do advocate that aerating young white wine is beneficial in improving taste.
Moreover, you can do a taste test to see if the aerated wine is better or not. Get a sample directly from the bottle and compare it with the wine you have aerated. If it tastes good, go on and serve it to your guest.
Aerate white wines for 20 to 30 minutes after uncorking them before serving. But before doing so, research the wine and know if the manufacturer recommended any aeration timing. Feel free to follow the manufacturer’s directions if there are any.
White wines are best enjoyed when chilled. Aerating them twenty to thirty minutes before serving your guest defeats the purpose and will make the wine lose its chill.
You can aerate the wine if you feel too overwhelmed by one aspect of it or if the tannins seem too intense.
How Does Oxidation Affect a Wine That Doesn’t Need Aeration?
All wines have one thing in common: their storage method. They do not turn out well with prolonged exposure to heat, light, air, and vibrations. These elements change the wine’s characterization. As you can see, the air is mentioned as an element to keep when away from, which contrasts majorly with getting air into wine for better taste.
This translates to moderation. Controlling the amount of air the wine gets and the time you consume it might yield a positive result.
How to Aerate White Wine
Swirl in Your Glass
Wines have dedicated glasses, which help heighten the drinking experience. Fill the glass and leave enough room for swirling to avoid spillage. Swirl the wine and take a sip, then swirl again after a couple of minutes.
You expose the surface of the wine to air faster because a glass’s mouth is wider. Swirling the wine will mix the drink with the unexposed part, changing its flavor and aroma.
Use a Wine Aerator
Wine aerators are the go-to for many who seek a faster way to oxidize wines and serve their guests without delay. The mechanism exposes air to wines, quickening the aeration process in ways decanting does not.
You can pour the wine directly from the glass bottle without detaching the aerator. In addition, some come with filters and funnels that help sieve sediments and cork bits from the wine.
A wine aerator is a handheld device and can be used either as a decanter stopper or to pour wine from a bottle. You do not need another aerator for your white wine. You can always use your red wine aerator, provided you wash it thoroughly after use.
Tips for Serving White Wine When Aerating
Here are essential details to help improve your wine-drinking experience if you have people around.
Do not instruct guests to swirl in their glasses to aerate. If it comes up in a conversation, you can drop your nuggets and see if any would take the instruction. The general idea is people have different palettes, and where one would love light-tasting wine, another might prefer stronger-tasting wine.
Only aerate wine minutes before serving. Do not aerate overnight. It defeats the purpose. If the wine gets too much air exposure, it will taste vinegary, reducing its texture.
Do not freeze the wine. It is best to chill your wine an hour before your event, then leave it overnight to get to the freezing point. Though drinking unfrozen wine is not bad, its texture would be different from before it got frozen. Also, maintain a consistent storage procedure to prevent wine spoilage.
Do not expose every detail of the wine. You know your friends best and how to entertain them. But do not mention decanting or wine sediments not settling. It may put the wine in a bad light, making people sip with caution.
You can decant the wine if you are bothered by sediments. Pour it into a decanter until an inch or two is left in the bottom. Wine sediments are not harmful. They just have an unflattering taste.
Do You Store White Wine in the Fridge After Opening?
Putting white wine in the fridge after opening is fine. It will help preserve the flavor and keep it fresh for longer.
Ensure to cork the bottle properly to ensure it does not get further oxidized as it ruins the flavor. Silicone stoppers are an excellent mechanism for preserving the wine after opening.
Aerating white wine is not recommended because manufacturers produce white wines for immediate consumption. As such, white wines might not have complex tannins that need softening from aeration.
However, this depends on wine quality, brand, and production method. Taste the wine to know if its texture and flavor are okay before aerating. Use wine glasses since they are built for that purpose and to avoid waste and spillage. On the off chance you are hosting, chill and aerate the wine beforehand.