Wine aeration: should I bother, or not?
In a recent forum post, I asked fellow wine lovers what they thought of wine aeration. Seventy-two comments later, I realized this is is a passionate subject. Most agree that some decanting is important to open up red wines, but the big argument comes with whether or not using wine aerators improves the taste of a wine.
Some feel that it is “cheating” or a “gimmick” to use an aerator, and that decanting is the only proper way to introduce oxygen to the wine. The fact is, both methods will introduce oxygen to the wine, and it is simply a matter of preference.
Oxygen changes the way a wine presents itself to you. During the wine making process, great pains are taken to make sure no oxygen is introduced into the wine, so its character is closed off when a bottle is newly opened. When it comes time to drink the wine, oxygen helps to release the aromas and flavors in the wine.
Wine can be decanted by pouring into a large container and left open to oxygen for several hours. This is the method preferred by many wine drinkers if time allows, but wine aerators can produce a similar effect in just seconds.
The wine from a bottle is poured directly through the aerator into the glass. The trip through the aerator mixes air with the wine, infusing it with oxygen and opening up its scent and taste accents. The aerator is especially handy for parties, events and wine tasting where slow decanting is not an option.
Whether you choose to decant or aerate your red wines is a matter of personal preference, but the introduction of oxygen to the red wine is key to getting the most out of your wine experience.