aeration: the secret to better wine (video)
I love wine, but I didn't understand the concept of aeration until recently. I've seen experts swish wine inside giant glasses before sniffing and swigging, but I didn't know why until Floyd Sullivan, representing tag’s VIVA Scandinavia and Vinejoy Wines, visited our office.
Vinejoy believes in ‘bringing joy to the wine drinker through delicious small production wines, parties, videos, and the occasional bear costume’, so you can count on them to deliver a great wine drinking experience without a hint of pretension. They specialize in high-quality boutique wines from the central coast of California. And Vinejoy swears by aeration.
Here’s why (and how) aeration works:
Wines, primarily red wines, contain tannins that can be bitter, but generally they soften once mixed with oxygen. Tannins are natural substances found in plants, wood, leaves, and fruit skins, including grape skins. This is one reason red wines can be very tannic, which gives wine a dry characteristic when a bottle is initially opened. They are also in aged barrels used in the wine making process, which are another source of tannins found in both red and white wines. Although they add complex characteristics to wine, tannins can be too bitter or astringent for many wine drinkers. This is where aeration comes in.
LET IT BREATHE
When you consider that wine can be stoppered up in bottles for years – even decades – it becomes easier to understand the value of aeration. Floyd told me to imagine opening a box in the attic that’s been there for years: you want to air out the contents of the box before using.
It is possible to over-aerate, which can be damaging to wine, especially for full-bodied, aged varietals, such as Cabernet Sauvignon. Wines that typically benefit from longer decanting and greater aeration are younger varietals such as Pinot Noir. Some reach the intended flavor and bouquet only after sitting in a decanter for many hours. The type of decanter you choose can make a difference here, but I’ll leave that to another post.
BRING OUT THE BEST
Using an aerator eliminates the need to decant wine for hours on end before enjoying. Floyd introduced me to this little guy, a simple-looking aerator that looks like a wine glass without its base. It’s the funnel aerator from VIVA Scandinavia, and it promises to make all wine better, which initially I thought was a pretty big claim for something seemingly so low-tech.
The secret is in the tiny piercings near the bottom that spray fine streams of wine that mix with the air. Once wine is properly mixed with oxygen, tannins mellow and the true flavor and bouquet (scent) that the winemaker intended are released. They are both softened and intensified simultaneously, if that’s even possible. Regardless, you can taste the difference, and the results are delicious!
Besides making the wine taste and smell amazing, this simple funnel aerator is only around $15. Floyd has tried lots of aerators on the market, and he recommends this one for ease of use, effectiveness, and especially price. You can purchase one here on tag2u.com.
How to aerate:
1) Place the aerator at the top of an empty decanter so that the stem sits inside.
2) Pour the wine inside the top of the aerator.
3) Watch the wine flow through the tiny holes and down the sides of the decanter as it mixes with oxygen.
Want to see more? Check out our video demo:
Cheers to great wine!