What is a wine aerator?
Wine Aerators are small pouring tools that help the oxygenation and aeration of a wine. The use of an aerator will affect the wine final taste, turning it into as best as possible.
Why use a wine aerator?
Some wines tend to taste more “closed” meaning that they have not developed as much as they could. Therefore, they are not releasing all the flavors, aromas and colors (this is very common in young wines). Similarly, some others might be very powerful and tannic in flavor (this could be the case of mature wines). One notices a remarkable difference after aerating a wine, as it “opens up”. As a result, the wine releases its bests flavors and aromas or softens the flavor making it desirable to drink. Furthermore, this process triggers oxidation (the chemical process that makes an apple turn brown), and evaporation (the process of liquid turning into vapor). With aeration, the unwanted volatile compounds of wine will evaporate quicker than the desired aromatic and flavorful ones.
To give examples of some of the compounds that might change or disappear after aerated, we could pay attention to Sulfites: these are added to wine to prevent microbial activity and oxidation. However, their smell is sometimes too strong (like burnt matchsticks). There is also Ethanol (the compound that makes the wine smell too much like rubbing alcohol). This is also a highly volatile compound that, through aeration, might turn up the aroma of the wine.
Why use an aerator instead of a decanter to aerate your wine?
Using only a decanter to aerate your wine is definitely an option for most wines.
Consists of pouring a bottle into the decanter and letting it sit for a minimum of 30 minutes. (Read more about for how long should you decant your wine).
Disadvantages of using a traditional decanter
- You will have to wait a minimum of 30 minutes before drinking your wine.
- Might also be that you end up not willing to drink a whole bottle of wine. However, if you did pour it all, you most likely will have to throw the rest away.
Advantages of using an aerator:
- There is almost no waiting time: meaning that aerators usually claim to be instant. Although the truth is that you will have to wait about 1 minute before you can drink your wine.
- They are perfect if you are not planning on drinking a whole bottle of wine, as you can aerate glass by glass
- They are considerably smaller than most decanters which allows you to take them with you wherever you go.
Should you combine wine aerators and wine decanters?
Combining both tools, aerator and decanter, to make your wine better comes up to be a good choice.
It naturally depends on the singularity of every wine and cannot be generalised. However, we found that in many cases it is of great advantage.
During the combination of both tools, the wine decanter is used to:
- Serve the wine.
- Give the wine another chance to aerate.
While the wine aerator is used for:
- Aerate the wine up to the right point.
- Separate the wine from sediment and cork. (As long as it includes a filter).
Although this combination might sound like a good one, it is definitely not suitable for every wine. There are some old red wines which could "turn" from too much oxygen exposition. This means that they are to delicate and cannot be over-aerated. For this types of wines, the best choice is a decanter.
On the other hand, most young wines will benefit from the use of an aerator as usually, these wines still need to mature and open up. Therefore the combination of both, aerator and decanter might very likely do good to them.
Which wines should you aerate?
To begin with, it must be said that most likely all wines benefit from aeration. Although the more dense and concentrated a wine looks, the more likely it will benefit from this process, and the longer it takes for it before fading. However, as said above, delicate or older wines are not ought to be aerated for long, as they have unique aromas that could be lost. For these wines decanting is the best solution.
If you'd like to know more specifically for how long a wine should be aerated you can have a look at Cellar Tracker. It is the world's largest collection of wine reviews, tasting notes and personal stories from people who love wine. As well as a great help if you want to know about an specific wine.