Wine Drinking Basics: What Does a Wine Aerator Do?

The wine has been a centuries-old process with the tradition of processing grapes and other additives to make an alcoholic drink. The process starts with harvesting grapes, one of the most important steps to making wine.

Grapes contain the acids, esters, and tannins that make the wine acidic and flavorful. They also have natural tannins or the natural bitterness and astringency. The grapes are then crushed by a machine and absorb the yeast in the air. To speed up the process, wine adds commercial yeast to maintain consistency and a more predictable outcome.

Fermentation will then be done within 10 days to a month and the sugar is converted to dry wine. Sweet wine is made when the producer takes the wine before all the sugar is converted. When the dead yeast and all the other sediments have surfaced, the winemaker begins the clarification process and removes all the excess dirt.

When the wine is clear, it is transferred to another vessel for aging. The longer the wine is stored, the more flavor comes out. These flavors enhance bitterness and a vanilla-like taste. The long exposure of the wine also increases the oxygen in the liquid which makes it taste fruitier, bolder, and tannins are decreased. Some winemakers would decide to bottle the wine right away. Bottles are sealed with a cork or a screwed top.

Since the wine will still contain sediments and tannins that were produced during the fermentation process, wines should take in more oxygen when the bottle is opened. This enhances the taste and infusion of oxygen into the wine. Experts suggest that, after opening it, you should let the wine sit for two hours to let the air into the bottle, and make the wine breathe.

Why is aeration necessary?

Aeration is the process of letting the wine breathe or the method of putting more air into the wine. This is to make the wine taste fruitier and for people to taste the wine in its complete texture and without the bitterness and tannins. Wine connoisseurs would call it “bouquet of flavors” because wine has a variety of tastes. Lack of aeration stops the drinker from tasting all of it.

Making the wine breathe is a continuation of the wine aging process but only for a few hours. Some wines can be put in wine glasses and let it be exposed for 2 hours. There is a debate on whether wine would taste better if it was put in a decanter, or a glass vessel to contain wine.

There are drinkers who prefer using a wine aerator because it is effective and time-saving compared to using a decanter. Some believe that aeration is best done with a blender.

The type of wine that mostly needs aeration is red wine. These wines are considered young, or wine that was bottled as soon as it is clarified and not let to ferment for a long time. Wines like Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux will require aeration to get rid of the tannins. For olderwines (or aged for 8 to 10 years), aeration should be done less vigorously.

Vintage wines are more sensitive and should be poured slowly into the glass. These wines contain more sediment and should settle at the bottom of the bottle. Ports are wines that are 20 years old and older which need to breathe but collect more sediment, which should be handled with care.

White wine should also be aerated because they also have boldness and tannins like red wine. Burgundy and white Bordeaux need to breathe for an hour before serving. However, white wine should be chilled and putting it in a decanter will compromise the low temperature of the wine.

Do cheap wines need to breathe?

Wine connoisseurs believe that cheap wine should not be aerated. These are the wines that are manufactured for direct consumption. Red wine with the light body should not be let to breathe or else the flavor will all be lost.

Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone, Zinfandels, Chiantis, and Dolcettos are types of red wine which do not need aerating. Although this is a matter of preference, the boldness of the flavor will depend on how the drinker designs the drinking experience.

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