For wine enthusiasts intimately familiar with the tannins in wine, tasting the right notes in different and specific wines is everything. Wine aeration, however, is critical to enjoying every bit of the tasting and drinking experience.
That said, a wine aerator is an apparatus that is used to expose wine to oxygen before pouring it into a glass. Now, what has oxygen got to do with wine? Letting wine breathe (exposure to oxygen) is critical to improving its profile in terms of texture, taste, aroma, and even appearance.
This device lets you pour wine through a pressurized oxygen funnel to groom it, mellowing out its harshness. With harshness removed, wine becomes more enjoyable
This article discusses how different wine aerators work, their benefits, and how much they cost generally. Also, we will explore the types of wines that require aeration and, finally, the differences between a decanter and an aerator.
How Does Wine Aerator Work?
Without sound sommelier training, defining distinct sensory characteristics in wines is almost impossible. While you may not be an expert, pouring wine through an aerator immediately brings you closer to being one as you can tell a difference in taste if you’re observant. As mentioned earlier, when a wine is oxygenated, its profile improves. Put differently, its taste and flavor come to the fore, making different wines distinct.
Wine aerators come in different sizes and forms. The most important procedure is to have the liquid pass through the aerator into the glass. Bear in mind that wine is essentially a mixture of different chemical compounds. When you uncork the bottle and pour it into glasses, two things happen: oxidation and evaporation. Oxidation in wine is the process where wine comes in contact with oxygen and a chain of chemical reactions is triggered. The latter involves unnecessary materials escaping from the beverage. These two processes weaken wine tannin concentration and uncover the wine’s real scent, making the drink more appealing and satisfying.
Unlike the traditional decanting method, you can enjoy your wine twice as much in just a few seconds. Overall, a wine aerator helps create a more balanced beverage.
What Type of Wine Needs Aeration?
Aeration is only considered because of its experience-enhancing effects on wine, but what if it is not needed? This is where we state that not all wines need aeration for profile enhancement. Using a wine aerator for some wines ruins it. The most common wines that require aeration are red wines. Others include vintage port wines and a few white wines. You are good to go with other wine types without aeration but at desirable temperatures.
We should also state that the tannin content in wines varies considerably primarily due to production processes. Red wines made from cabernet grapes are known for their high tannin content. The same is true for most Spanish and Italian red wines. Due to their profile astringency or sharpness, aerating them will prove quite beneficial to the drinking experience. As a matter of fact, observant non-enthusiasts can appreciate the difference in the aroma even before tasting.
Most white wines do not require aeration. However, due to the increase in high-tannin variants in the market, it is fast becoming popular to expose white wines to oxygen. Burgundies and Chardonnays, for one, due to their oak-derived tannins, etc. are good for aeration. While the effects are not as pronounced as in red wines, aerating the whites further smoothens and harmonizes the flavors, making it taste better than when not oxygenated.
Finally, young vintage port wines also require aeration because they are highly tannic. More often than not, they require longer and more careful aeration. Mind you, unlike vintage ports, you do not have to aerate tawny port wines.
How Much Do Wine Aerators Cost?
The cost of a wine aerator depends on a few key factors, including designs, features, materials, shapes, and most importantly, they are produced by different brands. Secondly, there are different wine aerator types: handheld and bottle-stopper. As the name suggests, the former is a standalone device held above your glass when pouring wine. The latter, which is the most common, is a broad category of manual and automatic aerators that you can fix into the mouth of the bottle.
Handheld wine aerators are cheaper generally. Some cost as low as $5 while more sophisticated ones cost as much as $35. The bottle-stoppers, on the other hand, may cost anywhere between $24.99 and about $299.99. Smart/electric wine aerators make up for being expensive with impressive features. If you get one, you won’t have to lift your wine bottle. At the touch of a button, the gadget automatically whirls the liquid and dispenses it into your glass. No stress! What’s more, some high-end options help prevent sediments from getting into your bottle.
Wine aerators are widely available in e-commerce, grocery, and kitchen stores.
Aerator vs Decanter
The sole function of both tools is to develop wine to its best state. However, while aerators and decanters play similar roles in aerating wine, a few factors set them apart.
First and foremost, aerators are a cheaper alternative to decanters if you require immediate action. Decanting wine may take hours or days while an aerator gets the job done in seconds. An aerator is most appropriate for high-tannic and young wines because they can stand more aggressive exposure to air. On the other hand, it is best to opt for a decanter if what you have is a bottle of old red wine. Old wines are pretty delicate for the rush work an aerator offers.
Red and port wines are most notable for having significant amounts of sediments. Though wine aerators are easier to clean than decanters, sediments will most likely clog their chambers. However, smart aerators don’t usually have this issue. Decanters, on the other hand, do a better job at helping the user keep sediments from his glass but are more difficult to clean.
Wine aeration is a simple process that improves your drinking experience. Besides the fact that it is more affordable than traditional decanters, it provides immediate effects. It rids wine of its “unpleasant” smell and unleashes its true flavor. Also, it leaves your wine tasting better. Asides from oxidation, aerating wine helps you get rid of free-floating compounds in the evaporation stage. As a result, it becomes smoother in the mouth.
A wine aerator is worth the investment, whether you are a wine connoisseur or can barely tell the flavors apart. Furthermore, an aerator is easy to use – just pour your wine through the aerator into a glass, and you’re all set for a worthwhile experience. Even better, when you opt for an electric aerator.