To Decant or To Aerate Wine, That is the Question!

Aerating wine

Decanting and aerating wines are two ways in which wine enthusiasts and sommeliers can better enhance the taste and aroma of their wines.

These two methods were developed to tone down the harsher flavors of some strains of strong tasting wines.

The decanting and aerating processes are important because they are essential practices that could greatly improve the taste of wine. Wine drinking enthusiasts often use decanting and aerating to get more value of the wines they have bought.

Decanting wine – Everything You Need To Know!

decanterDecanting wine is simply the process of pouring wine from one container, its bottle, into another container, a wine decanter. The wine is then served to the wine drinkers in the decanter.

The reasons for decanting wine are pretty obvious once a bottle of aged wine is taken a look at. Note at the bottom of the wine bottle; there are solid sediments that form at the bottom of the wine.

These wine sediments are especially harsh in taste and can ruin the overall flavor and aroma of the wine. The best thing to do is to remove this sediment. Doing so allows the wine’s full flavor to come out, letting wine enthusiast fully appreciate what a bottle of wine has to offer.

Decanting a bottle of wine is pretty straightforward. It involved pouring a bottle of wine carefully into another container or flask, which is empty.

The contents of a wine bottle are usually very slowly poured into another bottle, without letting the sediment transfer along with the liquid. If done properly, decanting wine should successfully separate the solid sediments from the liquid wine.

Decanting requires the use of a special kind of container, called a wine decanter. Wine decanters are usually made out of a transparent material, such as glass crystal.

This is because a wine decanter has to be transparent, to allow the person decanting to see whether or not the sediments are successfully being separated from the bottle of wine.

What kinds of wines should be decanted?

In general red wines that have a stronger taste should be decanted. This means that expensive red wines that have been aged are usually decanted before being served. This is because aged wines often form more sediment at the bottom of their bottles. White wines are not decanted. However, some more aged bottles of white wine are decanted. Most restaurants and wine merchants do no advocate the decanting of white wine.

Champagne and other kinds of sparkling wine should not be decanted, when these types of wine are decanted, they will lose their bubbles, which is what makes drinking champagne enjoyable.

In short wine decantation should be done when:

  • When guests that are particular about their wine are served. Decanting can help lower the harshness of the tastes of some wine, which will allow more guests to be pleased with the taste of the decanted wine.
  • When aged wine is taken out to be served. The aged wine has a stronger taste that must be toned down with decanting. Aged wine also has sediment formed at the bottom of its bottle; proper decanting can help remove this bad tasting sediment, before drinking the wine.
  • When wine presentation is an important part of dinner. Sediment that has formed at the bottom of the wine bottle can make the wine look unappetising. Decanting can make wine look more presentable when served with a clear wine decanter, free from unsightly sediments.
  • When red wine is to be served. Red wine is harsher in taste when compared to other types of wine. So if red wine is one the menu, it is best to decant it beforehand. Plus red wine looks amazing in a clear crystal decanter.

Aerating wine – Everything You Need To Know

Aerating wine simply refers to the practice of letting the liquid wine breath in the air, by exposing it to the air. The simplest way to aerate wine is by swirling wine within a wine glass to expose most of the liquid to the air around it.

Aeration of wine can enhance the flavor of a bottle of wine. After being locked up in the bottle for so long, wine needs to “breathe oxygen”. This is done by slowly exposing wine to the oxygen in the air.

This oxygen exposure can bring out the true character of wine, by allowing it to settle within the air. Allowing wine to settle, through aeration can enhance its flavors and bring out its real smell.

Aside from simply swirling the wine in class, to expose it to the oxygen in the air, there are special gadgets that are built specifically to aerate wine and are called wine aerators and you can get the a good wine aerator here. These wine aeration devices can usually aerate a bottle of wine more completely and quickly when compared to simply and slowly exposing the wine to the oxygen in the air.

Wine needs to be aerated because the natural chemicals that have been formed from preserving fruit can have their flavor locked up due to age. These chemicals are called tannin. Tannin in wine is what gives it that specific flavor that it has.

The more tannin a bottle of wine contains, the more it will need to be aerated. This is to allow the flavor of the fruit to come through when a glass of wine is sampled.

When to aerate wine:

  • When wine has been aged for a long time. The tannin builds up within aged wine needs to breathe. So exposing it to oxygen in the air will enhance the flavor of the fruit of the wine. Aerating wine also allows it to settle, which could make the aroma of wine much better.
  • When strong red wine is to be drunk. Strong red wines can be controlled if their contents are exposed the air. This allows the bitter tannins to dissipate in the red wines.
  • When opening a bottle of wine with a narrow neck. A narrow neck reduces the amount of wine exposed to the air. If a bottle of wine with a narrow neck is to be drunk, then its contents should be aerated to fully improve the taste of the wine.