Wine enthusiasts differ on whether a wine aerator is necessary or not. Some believe that an aerator doesn’t make wine taste any different. However, many think the opposite, believing that wine tastes best soon after it flows through an aerator.
So who is right? Do wine aerators really work? Keep reading, as you’ll find the answer in this article. We’ll also cover what wine aerators do, and whether a decanter or aerator is a better investment.
What Do Wine Aerators Do?
Put simply, an aerator exposes wine to more air, which lets the wine breathe. As wine ages within a bottle, air builds up inside which must be let out before drinking. As the wine breathes, the air is released, the wine oxidizes, and some tannins also vaporize.
There are several ways to let wine breathe. These include leaving the bottle open, leaving wine in a glass for over 20 minutes, or using decanters. These may work, but they take a lot of time.
Aerators are quick and easy to use, so they’ll save you a lot of time at events or parties. They work as the wine pours into an aeration chamber, which is then let out through a spout.
Some aerators also come with filters that remove sediments. These help the wine to breathe even more, as the filters disband air molecules within the wine.
How Does Air Affect Wine
Air can change how wine tastes, as it can bring nicer flavors out while receding unpleasant ones. This is why it’s good to let wine breathe. Several methods do this. The wine’s flavors will change depending on whether you use a decanter, aerator, or bottle cap.
It’s important to let wines breathe, but this doesn’t mean that all wines need to be aerated. Younger red wines and medium-to-full-bodied whites taste better after aeration. Younger white wines don’t need to be aerated.
An aerating device will bring out the flavors in two ways.
The first is that these devices help the wine oxidize. Oxidation turns alcohol into acetic acid, taking away any medicinal scents from the wine.
The second is that these devices help the wine evaporate. Once the wine evaporates, any leftover ethanol and sulfites vaporize, so the wine tastes less acidic.
Do Wine Aerators Work?
Yes, wine aerators do work! Wine aerating devices help wine breathe. As the wine flows through the aerating chamber, evaporation and aeration occur simultaneously.
An aerator removes any less desirable elements from the wine, like ethanol, sulfites, and excess tannins. The wine should taste better and be less bitter as a result.
Without an aerator, the wine will need several hours to breathe. However, if wine is left out for too long, it can taste flat and less flavorful. Aerators are convenient as they make the wine drinkable in mere minutes.
Older wines can have a lot of sediment that needs to be taken out. An aerator can do this quickly, improving the drinking experience. Younger wines that are bottled sooner may have a lot of tannins.
Aerating these wines can decrease the number of tannins, so that the wine tastes less bitter or acidic.
Different Types Of Wine Aerators
These are held over a glass as you pour wine through it. Handheld aerators normally come with a support to keep it in when it isn’t needed. Some also have a stand that holds the aerator above the glass, so you can use it hands-free.
These aerators do take up space, but they allow a greater amount of air to mix with the wine quickly and easily.
These aerators fit inside the bottle. They are small, portable, and have the bonus of acting as a bottle stopper. Wine pours out of these easily as they fit in the neck of the bottle. They are easy to carry around, but they don’t aerate wine as well as larger aerators.
In Glass/In Decanter
These aerators fit onto a glass or within a decanter spout. These work like handheld aerators but they are a little easier to use.
Electric aerators are convenient, as you only need to push a button to let your wine breathe. These have an advantage as they aerate wine more than regular varieties. However, these are higher end, so they cost more than traditional aerators.
No matter what aerator you use, it should be made out of strong, FDA-approved food-grade materials. It should be sturdy in structure and wine should never leak out from it.
Some people don’t use an aerator, as they believe uncorking the bottle will let the wine breathe enough. This isn’t true. Wine bottles have small mouths, so they won’t let enough air in to mix with the wine.
Some also think that aerator devices make wine taste bad. Younger red wines and medium white wines taste better when aerated. However, some wines don’t need aerating, like light-bodied white wines.
What Is Better, A Decanter Or An Aerator?
A decanter is different from an aerator, as wine is kept in a container instead of poured through an appliance. Wine decanters also aerate wine, though they have other advantages.
Other than bringing out flavors in wine, they remove sediment and any broken cork pieces from the bottle. Decanters are also more expensive, but they tend to look better than aerators. Many decanters can be used as artistic pieces.
However, it can take a long time to decant wine. If a wine bottle has been kept on its side, it must be stored upright for a while before you decant it. Keeping the wine upright will let any sediment pool together at the base.
Then, once you decant the wine, you must wait for half an hour so that the wine has oxidised enough.
If you’re serving wine to a lot of people, an aerator lets you serve good-tasting wine quickly. If your wine bottle will last you for a few days, then a decanter may be a better choice. Remember that wine can taste bad if kept for a while. Try to drink your decanted wine within 3 days.
Aerators let wine breathe, revealing nicer flavors while reducing less palatable ones. Aerators are great for certain types of wine, but if you prefer young white wines, you probably won’t need one.
Decanters also let wine breathe but take more time to do so. These are more expensive than aerators, but can come in beautiful artistic sculptures. Ultimately, if you’d like to save time and serve wine quickly, an aerator is a great investment.