If you’re new to wine drinking, all of the terms you hear can be confusing and overwhelming. And while you don’t need a fancy new vocabulary to be a wine-lover, aeration is a straightforward concept that even a casual wine fan should familiarize themselves with. This article will tell you all you need to know about wine aerating and the best way to do it.
Related: 3 Ideas For Leftover Wine
What is Aeration?
Aeration means introducing air into something. When you expose the wine to air, you trigger the process of oxidizing and evaporation. Oxidation is a chemical reaction in which a substance is exposed to oxygen, like when an apple slice or banana turns brown after being exposed to air for too long.
Evaporation is the process where a liquid becomes vapor. When you aerate your wine, you cause the undesirable components to evaporate, which brings out all of the lovely qualities. Ethanol and sulfites are two examples of elements that end up trapped in the bottle. Once you aerate and they evaporate, you’re left with a much smoother taste.
Why Should I Aerate My Wine?
Aeration enhances the wine in several ways, including releasing the aromas and softening the tannins. Tannins are bitter compounds in wine that come from grape skins, seeds, stems, and wood barrels used for aging. In nature, tannins act as a type of defense mechanism to make a plant seem undesirable to animals that might try to snack on them.
In wine, tannins provide structure and texture. When varying proportions and types of tannins in wine production are used, have different kinds of wine. For example, tannins are responsible for the drying sensation in your mouth when you drink certain types of wine. When you hear an expert talking about a wine’s “mouthfeel,” they refer to the tannin’s texture.
So when you take the steps to aerate wine, you smooth out the harsh qualities of the tannins and enhance the taste.
Should You Aerate All Wine?
All wine is not created equal - therefore, you won’t drink all wine the same way. Some of the wines that benefit more from aeration are:
- Young Reds
Generally speaking, the younger a bottle of wine is, the more tannins there are. Letting the wine breathe a bit before drinking it softens and mellows the tannins so that the taste isn’t quite as harsh and overpowering.
- Full-bodied Aged Red Wine
Tannins and other chemicals can solidify and settle at the bottom of aged red wine, and aeration helps filter that out, as the sediment can be very bitter and astringent. For taste, however, older reds don’t need as much aeration. Since the cork allows some air to escape gradually, some aeration has already occurred by the time you open the bottle.
- Some White Wines
White wine typically doesn’t benefit from aeration. But there are a select bunch that does, like burgundies or Bordeaux - these tend to be dryer with a heavier texture than most white wines, and many people prefer letting them aerate before enjoying them.
Aside from wines that commonly get the aeration treatment, you can experiment with aerating literally any type of wine you want! There is no right or wrong answer to which wines should go through the process. You may prefer to swirl or decant all of your white wine, which might prompt your wine-loving friend to give you dirty looks. Enjoying wine the way you choose is the most important thing.
Do you want an expertly aerated wine without having to purchase a separate tool? Check out Taste of Purple’s special aeration glass and stemware!
How Can You Aerate Wine?
There are three main ways to aerate wine:
A decanter is a large vessel that is designed to hold an entire bottle of wine. Decanting is simply the process of pouring a bottle of wine into the decanter. By pouring the wine into another container, it introduces some air into the wine to improve certain qualities of its taste. Decanters have a wide bottom and a long neck so that there is a more extensive surface area for the wine to be exposed to oxygen.
Another perk to decanting is that it helps you avoid whatever sediment is present in a wine bottle. If your wine was aged for at least ten years or so, there’s bound to be some gritty material that settles in the bottle (which is perfectly normal.) The shape of a decanter allows the sediment to stay in the vessel, filtering only the liquid into your wine glass.
Wine Aeration Tool
There are a few different types of wine aerators on the market. Most of them involve attaching a tool to the bottle that will aerate the wine as you pour it. The results vary for different types of products, so it’s important to research and figure out how much aeration you want the tool to achieve.
Swirling Your Glass
We’ve all seen someone, whether it’s a wine expert, a friend, or someone on the big screen swirl their wine glass around dramatically. Perhaps you even thought it looked kind of silly. But there is actually a science-backed reason for this. Gently swirling your glass around helps to aerate the wine, which is especially helpful when you don’t have a wine aerator.
Related: How To Open a Wine Bottle Like a Pro
Which Type of Aerator Should I Use?
When it comes to aeration, it seems like wine connoisseurs all have a preferred method, and they usually differ wildly. Aerating is a process that you’ll perfect to your taste with experience, and lots of trial and error.
Wine aerators can work well when designed correctly. But not everyone wants multiple wine accessories cluttering up their cabinets and drawers. Taste of Purple has come up with a unique solution that allows you to aerate your wine the perfect amount, without having to buy an extra tool.
Our patented glassware has a special notch on the side of each glass that aerates the wine as you swirl it, taking away the need for an extra device. The glasses are all hand-crafted from high-quality, lightweight crystal, making them beautiful and functional at the same time.
If you want to enhance your favorite wines and enjoy beautifully crafted glassware, check out Taste of Purple’s online shop today!