If you have ever been to a wine tasting party, then you have probably heard experts say that it’s essential to let the wine “breathe” to bring outs subtle smell and flavors. People who have no idea what they are talking about have probably never seen a wine aerator.
The truth is that there are ways to enhance the taste and enjoyment of wine as one of life’s great pleasures. One such method is called aeration, which is merely a lavish term for introducing more air to wine to bring out more of its’ smell and flavor. To accomplish the latter, you use a device known as a wine aerator.
So how does a wine aerator work? What are some of the essential things that you need to know when using it? These are good questions and well worth considering if you’ve never owned or used one.
Important details to keep in mind on how does a wine aerator work
If aerators make the wine taste and smell better, then shouldn’t it be used more often? Well yes and no. One of the first things that you need to learn about the best aerator for wine is that they are not suitable for all types of wine. Red wines, in particular, are the only ones that can benefit the most from aeration. White wine, on the other hand, does not need aeration although you can use a decanter to remove sediment from the bottom of vintage bottles.
It is important to note that aeration can ruin the taste of certain wines completely. Hence you generally would want to limit the use of a wine aerator to red wine, especially vintage ones or anything that has a bold tannin base. You generally would want to avoid aerating cheap red wine as they are made for quick consumption and will not benefit much from aeration.
Still, the question remains — how does a wine aerator work? Well, to understand the latter, you would want to know a few things about the science behind aeration.
Understanding the process of wine aeration
Now the traditional and one of the oldest methods for aerating wine is a device called a decanter. The latter is merely an empty bottle to where a bottle of wine may be poured into to remove sediments and allow the wine to “breathe”. Decanters are almost always made of glass and come in different designs and sizes to suit one’s preferences.
Decanter and Wine Aerator – What’s the difference?
While decanters and wine aerators have similar functions, they are not exactly alike. As mentioned above, a wine decanter enables the wine to absorb more oxygen and come to life outside of its’ original bottle. That said, you do have to be careful when decanting vintage wines as these tend to have more sediment inside them. Hence decanting can hurt the flavor and overall quality of the wine. This is a mistake that you would never want to make when serving expensive vintage wines during a tasting party.
Wine aerators are different in that they are typically more complicated with some units featuring patented electronic designs. These devices funnel pressurized air into the wine allowing for immediate aeration. Some aerators are small hand-held devices that you can attach directly unto the wine bottle, which makes them portable and very convenient to use.
The chemical reactions involved when aerating a bottle of wine
Another significant difference that you would want to consider if you wish to learn how does a wine aerator work is that wine undergoes two different types of chemical changes during aeration — evaporation and oxidation.
As you may already know, oxidation happens to any substance when exposed to oxygen. Think about how fruits and vegetables turn dark when you leave them in a table for too long. A similar reaction can happen with wine.
Evaporation, on the other hand, is how a liquid turn into a gas and vanishes into the air. This chemical reaction is another crucial element for aerating wine. How is this so?
In a nutshell, wine is a chemical solution made up of different compounds. A few of these compounds are responsible for a wine’s delicious taste and aroma. That said, some compounds interfere with the wine’s taste but are still present because they are a necessary element for making wine. Such compounds include sulfites and ethanol, which both evaporates quickly during aeration.
Ethanol, in particular, is responsible for that overpowering smell of alcohol when you first open a bottle of wine. Sulfites are used to prevent bacterial contamination and stave off oxidation inside the container. The process of aeration eliminates these elements while leaving the natural smell and taste of the wine intact. It is no wonder then that wine aerators are a must-have for wine connoisseurs and enthusiasts as it allows you to bring out the best taste and smell from vintage wines.
So, there you have it — an overview on how does a wine aerator work. As you may have already realized, aerating wine does involve some skill and knowledge. Aerating the wrong bottle of wine can have an adverse effect on taste and quality. Likewise, it is crucial to note that wine will only “peak” for a certain amount of time, after which, the flavor and quality will drop.
Wines that are denser and concentrated tend to benefit the most from aeration and lasts longer when left out in the open. However, most vintage wines are fragile, and it only takes a few minutes to loss its’ flavor and aroma once aerated. In this case, you would want to have them served to your guests immediately. Keep in mind that merely leaving a serving of wine in a glass out in the open, you are aerating it to a small degree. Now that you know how wine aerators work, you are in a better position to determine which wine would benefit from the process and which ones don’t. Such knowledge should prove invaluable and help you ensure that you always make the most out of every bottle of wine you serve.