Wine Aeration and Its Benefits
To produce a desirable, aromatic flavorful wine, it goes through aeration, which is a process by which air is circulated through, mixed with or dissolved in a liquid, like wine, to evaporate the volatile undesirable components, allowing the desirable components to remain in the wine.
Wine aeration results into two chemical reactions, simultaneously, taking place, which are the oxidation process, which takes place when something is exposed to oxygen, and evaporation process, which is a process of a liquid turning into a vapor and escaping into the air.
The oldest and most frequently used aerators are decanters, which are mostly made from glass and comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, and wine is aerated by just leaving it in the decanter for 15-20 minutes, although the time it takes will depend on the type of wine. Even if aeration can take place simply by opening a bottle of wine, it takes a lot longer for the process to take place due to the narrow head of the bottle, which restricts the wine access to oxygen. There are also aerator gadgets, which have patented designs, but the principle method is similar, which is forcing the wine through a funnel that enables a pressurized force of oxygen to interact with it; the result is instant aeration.
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Young red wines with a heavy tannin base or red wines with complex and bold structure or old aged wines are perfect for decanting, although not all wines need to be aerated, since the process can actually ruin the complexity of some wines and destroy their flavor profile.
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Young red wines, which are known for their high tannic profiles, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera, Bordeaux, Montepulciano, etc, are slightly aerated to allow the tannins to mellow a bit, softening the wine’s harsh edges and making it a more pleasant drinking experience that isn’t overpowered by a tannic punch.
When red wine is aged for eight to ten years, its various elements, such as tannins and other components, bind together, solidify, and sit as sediments on the wine bottle, and since the sediments taste bitter, the red wine undergoes a decanting method, separating the bitter sediment from the liquid wine, by pouring the wine slowly so as not to agitate the sediments on the bottom of the wine bottle.
Some white wines, like Burgundy, white Bordeaux, Corton-Charlemagne, Alsace, can also benefit from aeration to achieve that dry, full-bodied taste.
Vintage port wines has the distinction of being aged for around twenty and above years, and because the duration of aging time has built up sediments in the bottles, putting vintage port wines through the decantation process will help expose the flavorful taste of the wine.