Wine lovers are always looking to enhance their drinking experience by finding new accessories to keep their wines fresh for a longer time, so you might want to check it out here to make sure you are benefiting from the latest news in the field.
Although aerating wine is a practice that has been known and used for centuries, it wasn’t until the last few years that it has become broadly approached by non-professionals thanks to the large number of gadgets on the market that can make any newbie taste and preserve wine like true connoisseurs.
What is a wine aerator?
A wine aerator is a small device that allows more air to come in contact with the liquid as opposed to the regular process of opening a bottle, pouring the wine with a standard pourer, and allowing it to breathe.
If you want to better understand the use of a wine aerator, first you need to know about the process running in the background, which is called aeration. Wine is a collection of chemical compounds so, whenever you remove the cork from a bottle and pour the liquor into glassware, these compounds undergo some chemical processes or reactions named oxidation and evaporation.
Both these processes will minimize the unwanted flavors in wine, and this is the main reason why people prefer to let the wine “breathe” for a while before drinking it. Decanters are the choice of many who will allow the wine to sit for a few hours, especially if it’s red. However, if you don’t have the time or the patience to use a decanter, a wine aerator will make the process instantaneous.
What does a wine aerator do?
Now that you are familiar with the aeration process, it’s high time you learned a little extra about the small accessory named aerator. To put it simply, the purpose of such an accessory is to force the wine to interact with air instantly, accelerating both the process of evaporation and oxidation. This will reveal the true “essence” of a wine, enhance its flavors, and make it taste better.
Exposing the wine to high levels of oxygen at once will determine its compounds to undergo a chemical reaction of oxidation, which is similar to when the fruit turns from young to ripe.
One of the most susceptible compounds to oxidation is ethanol or alcohol. Ethanol is also susceptible to the second chemical process, evaporation.
Therefore, it will be the first one to evaporate, alongside another unstable compound of wine called sulfite. Sulfites are deliberately added to the wine to control the microbes and prevent overoxidation during the winemaking process.
As you probably guessed by now, both these processes are mandatory for creating a wine that will last but this doesn’t mean that some extra molecules cannot be removed to enhance the flavor and taste of the liquor.
However, it is important to note that evaporation is a slow process that takes hours or days to be visible, which means that you won’t have to rush to finish a bottle through dinner to avoid the liquor from vanishing. Not even 1ml of wine will disappear from the bottle or the glass for a few hours, so you can fully enjoy your dinner and conversation with your friends.
What is the difference between a decanter and an aerator?
We have already mentioned that there are different methods and accessories used to make sure the wine you’re drinking is of superior quality and properly aerated.
Wine decanters have been used for hundreds of years and come in all shapes and sizes. They are usually made of glass to not alter the chemical properties of the wine and take longer to perform the aeration process.
As we previously mentioned, a good bottle of red wine should be kept without the cork for at least a couple of hours before enjoying it, although this is often ignored when you’re serving it in a restaurant or at a party and you cannot wait that long. Regardless of the products available on the market, a decanter shouldn’t be fancy or expensive to do its job. Any type of glass vase or vessel will suffice.
On the other hand, wine aerators boost the process of aeration, allowing it to be ready for consumption in a shorter time. This gadget is often used at parties and in restaurants to allow clients to enjoy the most of this liquor.
Wine is forced through a small funnel that enables a pressured oxygen force to interact with it, resulting in instant aeration. Although you’ll find hundreds of different items on the market, they all follow the same principle, so, in theory, they all should work.
Do wine aerators work?
The answer to this question is both yes, and no, depending on whom you’re asking. Aerator manufacturers will try to sell you their products as if they were blessed by the gods, while true wine connoisseurs might have a different opinion.
By forcing more oxygen to be pumped into the wine, aerators are trying to “cheat” time and make the wine age faster, which results in a less fruity flavor, and an enhanced alcohol taste. Although the process may seem to work for expensive wines, experts say that the best way to let the wine sit is with the use of a regular decanter.
Fine wine takes time to age and evolve, and rushing this natural process with the help of an aerator won’t make you fully enjoy all the amazing flavors of it, especially the subtle tones.
On the other hand, the aeration process doesn’t always bring the best in all wines. With modern processes and technologies, many regular wines are created to be served immediately after you open the bottle, reducing manipulation and increasing convenience. This is especially the case with young, fruity wines, like the USA Cabernet Sauvignon.
Since we are talking about the single most popular type of wine sold in the country, many producers have perfected their technologies to turn this liquor into wine that can be consumed right from the bottle, without worrying about aerating it first.
The entire experience revolving around the USA Cabernet Sauvignon is the taste of ripe fruits, which makes the aeration process unnecessary, and even damaging to the final taste.
Should you invest in a wine aerator?
The answer to this question, again, depends on your taste in wine, as well as your expertise in the field. Often enough, the simpler the wine, the better it is to be left alone, without using any other gadget that promises to enhance the taste and flavor.
The concept behind this is also simple – over 60% of the total global production of wine is made to be consumed on the spot, which is also referred to as “table wine”.
The main characteristics of table wine include a light, more “liquid” texture, without subtle flavors. Table wine is made to be consumed right away, and, in this case, the more, the better. It is often lighter than other types of wine and rarely exceeds 11,5% alcohol.
In other words, if you spend less than $15-$20 per one bottle of wine, the use of an aerator won’t dramatically enhance your drinking experience and won’t make you feel the difference in taste and flavor. On the contrary, it may have the opposite effect on your wine, causing it to taste funny after just a few hours.
Another thing to take into account when choosing a wine aerator is the type of wine you drink. Red wine takes more time to properly breathe and “settle”, so decanters are preferred because they also allow sediments to remain on the bottom of the vessel, helping you enjoy a pure liquor.
White and rose wines rarely have sediments and, because of their lighter texture, they take less time to aerate. Even 30 minutes of “breathing” is more than enough to make the most of your favorite bottle of rose and enjoy the perfect taste.
Last but not least, also take into account the construction and quality of the wine aerator. If you decided to invest in such an accessory, make sure it doesn’t look like a cheap toy and splash the content of the bottle all over the table.