Benefits of Aerated Wine
Wine is composed of different compounds, and when it goes through aeration, which is a process by which air is circulated through, mixed with or dissolved in a liquid, like wine, the volatile undesirable components will evaporate faster than the desirable, aromatic flavorful ones.
When wine is aerated, two chemical reactions take 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.
Wine is aerated using a decanter, which is known to be the oldest and most frequently used aerators, made from glass and comes in a variety of shapes and sizes; the process takes place by just leaving the wine 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. Wines can also be aerated using 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 of which is instant aeration.
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It’s also important to note that not all wines need to be aerated, since the process can actually ruin the complexity of some wines and destroy their flavor profile; however, young red wines with a heavy tannin base or red wines with complex and bold structure or old aged wines are perfect for decanting.
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Young red wines, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera, Bordeaux, Montepulciano, etc, which are known for their high tannic profiles, 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.
Red wines are commonly aged and, after some time, various elements in the wine, such as tannins and other components, begin to bind together, solidify, and sit as sediments on the wine bottle, which occurs between eight and ten years of aging, and the sediments taste bitter; that’s why in decanting, pour the wine slowly so as not to agitate the sediments on the bottom of the wine bottle.
To achieve that dry, full-bodied taste in white wines, some go to the process of aeration, like Burgundy, white Bordeaux, Corton-Charlemagne, Alsace.
Some red wines, called vintage port wines, has been aged for around twenty and above years, and because the duration of aging time has built up sediments in the bottles, by putting these wines through the decantation process will help expose its flavorful taste.