Posted on 17 Nov 2015 23:28
Will a Wine Aerator Turn Bad Wine into Fine Wine?
Wine aerators are all the rage in wine accessories. Although when you store wine, you want to protect it from exposure to oxygen, once you're ready to drink it, a little oxygen can help improve flavor, and even texture.
Letting Wine Breath
When people let wine rest to "give it time to breath," this is what they are talking about. Letting wine breath is letting some oxygen be absorbed into it.
This is also the reason people swirl their wine glass, basically, to agitate the wine and get air into the wine faster. And, wine connoisseurs have been using a very simple aeration device for many years: the decanter. A fancy crystal wine decanter is not just for pretentiousness sake (although it is quite pretentious), transferring the wine from the bottle to the decanter agitates it and introduces oxygen more quickly. When you pour wine from the glass, you When you pour wine, you are already exposing it to oxygen, as well.
Wine Aerators like Vinturi
Fancy wine aeration devices like the Vinturi claim to accelerate this process and introduce more oxygen into the wine almost instantly. The vinturi, in particular, claims it enhances the flavor, bouquet, and finish of any wine, but they have separate devices for red and white wines. Vinturi also claims that its instant aeration process mixes the "proper amount of air in the right amount of time." As you pour wine through the device, it draws in water through a hole in the side. This is similar to how other aerators work.
Whether these wine aerator devices work or not is quite subjective. The difference between an aerated and non-aerated wine may be so subtle that many of us will not notice the difference. As well, it may work better on red wines than white, and the style of wine may have a lot of do with the effect. How oxygen affects a wine, how much oxygen is enough, and how much is too little, is bound to be different for different wines and since there are hundreds and hundreds of wine styles, the true effect of aerators would probably be too complex to pin down, even if your experience of the results weren't subjective.
Despite the subjectivity of the result, these devices are hot sellers. The Vinturi is a best seller at Amazon, with thousands of positive reviews.
Although a little oxygen may enhance a wine, a lot of oxygen will destroy it. Letting wine sit around in the air for hours will start tasting sour and flat. Oxidation is the great enemy of wine, and this is why once you open a wine, you need to drink it quickly, even though you cork it between each pour. Each time you open the bottle, you expose the wine to oxygen. As well, you introduce more space into the bottle, where air will remain, exposing a half-empty bottle to more oxygen than a full one. The same is true of liquors like whiskey (Vinturi makes a "spirit aerator").
For this reason, there exists the opposite of the wine aerator, the wine pump. Wine pumps are designed to attach to the top of bottle and suck the air out, creating a vacuum so that an opened bottle of wine lasts much longer than it otherwise would have. Pouring wine into a smaller container which can be sealed, to some extent, may also help, as the smaller container can be filled with liquid, thus reducing the air space. However, pouring the wine from one container to another will mix more oxygen with the wine, so the advantage of reducing air space may be balanced by the disadvantage of pouring, and thus agitating and aerating the wine.
Have you used a wine aerator, and if so, can you tell any difference? Or, is it just a bunch of hot air? As for myself, no, I cannot taste any difference!
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