Whether you’re an elite sommelier or a budding wine enthusiast, chances are, you’d be able to rate the quality of the wine you just bought. But what if you could significantly improve how your wine tastes and smells? What if, by just adding one more step to your wine ritual, you could get more out of your favorite reds or even whites?
Nowadays, the old but still popular and effective way of taking at least an hour to decant and open up your wine can already be reduced into mere seconds. You now get the chance to double the taste value of your wine in a relatively short amount of time.
This process is called wine aeration.
You can now oxidize your wine using a small device called a wine aerator. It can make a significant improvement in the bouquet and the overall mouthfeel of your favorite vintage. Considering the traditional way, which is longer, this method is a small adjustment compared to what it usually takes to upgrade the process of pleasing your palate. All of this is made possible by investing just a few dollars and a few seconds of your time.
Ultimately, you will gain some added mellow years out of your otherwise magnificent but younger wine. The key here is not to change the taste but rather to enhance it.
What is a Wine Aerator?
A wine aerator is an accessory that allows for more oxygen infusion into the wine as it is being poured. It is designed to bring out more flavor and aromatic intensity to the overall taste of your vin de table. It comes in various shapes and structures, and some even come as individual glass flask types of aerators that you will have to hold and pour the wine through it straight into the glass. Others are small devices that are placed into the bottle’s mouth, spreading the wine and exposing it to good oxidation.
People who know wine would either let it stand for a while or use a decanter to let the wine “breathe.” Using this method takes an hour for you and your wine to sit and wait before it is fully aerated.
What Exactly Does a Wine Aerator Do?
Whenever a wine bottle is uncorked, chemical compounds in the wine trigger two processes: evaporation and oxidation. Using a wine aerator helps accelerate these processes while reducing the unpalatable taste that naturally comes with a newly opened bottle.
Depending on the type, an aerator compels oxygen to mix and react with wine as it goes through a plain aerating mechanism. Some even contain pressurized oxygen. The goal is to achieve the same result as it would be when placed in a decanter.
Many scientific processes happen when aerating your wine, but what it essentially does is strengthen the desirable qualities of your wine. A good aerator with a filter can also remove sediments and other impurities that you would rather not drink with your velvety red. It can help your wine achieve its full potential, especially in younger wines that contain more tannins (the bitter component). Aeration can soften the tannins and highlight the best qualities without changing its character.
How to Use Your Wine Aerator
First, let’s look into the time-tested ways of aerating your wine:
Pour directly in a wine glass.
One simple way of aerating your wine is to pour it into a glass and swirl it around before drinking it.
Use a Decanter
Pour your wine in a decanter, and within an hour, you may start enjoying it too. Some wines would need at least 4 hours to express. What you can do, though, is taste your wine and see if it is already to your liking. Make sure to consume it within 2-3 days upon opening before it goes bad.
Use an Aerator
An aerator will cut your waiting time to mere seconds since all you have to do is pour your wine through the device, after which you can immediately enjoy it.
Important note: The denser the wine, the better candidate it is for aerating. On the other hand, older wine should fare better when put in a decanter rather than instantaneously aerating it since its delicate aroma may dissipate and fade.
Types of Wine Aerators
Nowadays, there are already many variations of aerator designs, as follows:
Handheld Wine Aerator
These are devices that are held separate from the bottle of which are usually laid on top of the mouth of the glass. It acts as a funnel with a filter and an aerating chamber in it. Pour the wine directly into the handheld aerator as it should make a bubbling sound indicating the aerating process is going on in the chamber. Take care not to pour too fast to prevent an overflow.
Bottle Stopper Aerator
Also known as a wine pourer aerator, this type is attached directly to the bottle’s mouth, similar to tequila bottle pourers. The difference is an aerator bottle pourer may have 3 nozzles instead of just one.
Electric Wine Aerator
This type of aerator uses electricity to run a small mechanism. It aerates using even and stable pressure to oxidize your wine with an easy tap of a button.
What Are the Benefits of Aerating Wine?
Reduces Undesirable and Volatile Chemicals from Wine.
One not-so-pleasant smell coming from your newly opened bottle of wine is naturally occurring chemical compounds such as ethanol and sulfites. Ethanol smells of medicinal scent while sulfites smell of rotten eggs. Aeration reduces these chemicals and enhances desired flavors.
Aeration Raises the Quality of Wine’s Flavor Profile
Simultaneous with tempering your wine’s less desired components is the enhancement of its flavor profile. With smell being almost 80% of the taste of your wine, it could mean an improvement in taste via improving the smell. Although wine is a little bit more complex than that, the smell definitely contributes a lot to the overall quality of the wine.
Better Value for Your Money
Apart from improving your wine’s bouquet and achieving a rounder flavor profile, you get to enjoy a younger inexpensive wine as if it was an older and more matured wine. You get more value out of your money with better tasting and palate-pleasing wine. Aerating wine that is in the $10 range can make it taste like a $20 bottle. The shorter aging process of younger wines makes them an ideal candidate for aeration.
Can You Aerate White Wine?
Yes, but it works better on heavier white wines, such as Chardonnays, Alsace, Burgundy, and Bordeaux. The heavier the wine, the more it will benefit from aeration. Most wines are young. They lack aging and have too many tannins that need to be filtered out and disposed of.
Best Wine Aerators
Vinturi V1010 Essential Red Wine Aerator
Possibly the most popular retail wine aerator, the Vinturi V1010 comes with a no-drip stand that looks good both with or without the aerator on it. This device is specifically engineered to draw a specific amount of air done with the right timing with its patented design. It involves just the right pressure while raising the velocity of the liquid going through the Vinturi. This aerator is a popular choice since it produces a well-balanced aroma and taste that is neither too bright nor overpowering-something that most wine drinkers want, subtle but well pronounced.
Viski Summit Aerating Pour Spout
A simple spout attached to the mouth of the bottle; the Viski Aerating Pour Spout offers an inexpensive way to incorporate oxygen into your wine with its “air blending helix,” the maximizes oxygen contact by way of the spout. According to its makers, it matches an hour to 1 hour and a half of being in a decanter. You get the same result in just a few seconds of passing through the spout, plus no drips.
With its shiny copper finish, the Viski has an elegant look that would exude a rather exclusive and high-priced wine accessory. When in fact, it will fit your budget well with its economical price tag. Although, this device is not recommended for older and more delicate wines. You will want to use a decanter instead, especially if you need to filter out sediment.
Vintorio Wine Aerator Pourer
This device is shaped like an oversized spout which makes its design unique. Its large acrylic spout provides you a good view of where your wine is passing through while being aerated. According to its manufacturer, the Vintorio wine pourer makes use of the Bernoulli effect, where oxygen is being optimally added to the wine as it goes through its larger (compared to a spout) aerating chamber. With just enough speed to create the right pressure, it opens up your wine with bright notes and better intensity.
The Vintorio Aerator is also fitted with a rubber stopper on its contact point with the bottle to prevent leaks and stains on your luxury tablecloths.
Attach the device directly to the mouth of your wine bottle and pour away. Enjoy heady wine that is balanced with subdued but distinct notes. The manufacturer claims double the value of your wine when you use Vintorio Pourer.
Rabbit RBT Wine Decanter
This is your classic example of a trusty decanter that has been in use for hundreds of years. The Rabbit RBT uses the same principle and design for making better wine with added features to accelerate aeration further.
How to decant wine using the Rabbit RBT Wine Decanter:
- Pour your wine into the funnel positioned at the top of the decanter’s neck, which specifically directs the flow of the liquid down to the sides of the vessel. The micro strainer that is included in the package will filter any sediment and other impurities.
- Let it sit for about 15 minutes and enjoy.
The glassware sits on a beautiful wooden acacia coaster that functions as its base and drip catcher.
TriBella an In-Bottle Wine Aerator
Compared to the other two previous in-bottle aerators, the Tribella is considered to be unique in design in that it contains not one but three spouts. Made out of stainless steel, these three pipes pours your wine simultaneously in three separate streams.
This liquid separation action allows for powerful aeration of your wine without the use of pressurized oxygen. The narrow design also prevents unnecessary dripping.
Aervana Essential Wine Aerator with Dispenser
This device is similar to other in-bottle wine aerators. They all sit at the mouth of the bottle, acting as pourers and stoppers, except that the Aervana is battery-driven and doesn’t rely on gravity for aeration action. The Aervana has an electronic motor to drive aeration at the push of a button. With just one touch, you get aerated wine as much as six times more in intensity than gravity-based devices. It is clean, easy, and convenient, but it maximizes and not optimizes aeration, which would probably not appeal too much to some.
Others would prefer somewhere between bright and subtle when it comes to improvement in intensity.
The YJLWE Electric Wine Aerator
The YJLWE Wine Aerator boasts six times more aeration power than gravity-based aerators with a similar setup and mechanism to a standard electronic aerator. No more pouring, just a touch of a button, and wine will be suctioned up into the aerator head and dispensed through a slim spout straight into your wine glass. The YJLWE is slightly less expensive than the standard electric type aerator and looks much sleeker with its thin frame and black color. This is a good wine accessory to add to your collection, even if you are on a budget.
Take the Time to Aerate Your Wine. You’ll Love It!
Oxidation isn’t always viewed as positive in many instances. But in the wine world, it is every connoisseur’s useful tool. Aeration/oxidation done in the right way will help you get the best out of your wine experience. Whether you use in-bottle aerators or something more convenient like the electric types, you can expect better flavor and more refinement in taste from your aged bottle.