In the world of wine, there are various accessories used when carrying out a task related to wine. For example, wine cellars, corks, vacuum pumps, corks for sparkling and wines, thermometers, among others.
When serving a glass of wine, many people decide to serve a cup directly from the bottle. Others pass it through another container, and still, others leave the bottle open so that it is oxygenated. An activity coupled with rest and oxygenation of the wine is aerating the wine with a wine aerator.
The main function of a wine aerator is to oxygenate the wine simultaneously as it is served in the cup. In this post, we will explain what a wine aerator is. We will talk about its functions, what kind of wine aerators exist, their advantages, importance, and what situations merit the use of an aerator.
What is a Wine Aerator?
A wine aerator is a tool to oxygenate a wine at the same time it is served in the glass. Aerating or oxygenate the wine allows the wine to “breathe”. This is achieved when the liquid comes into contact with the air that surrounds it. This breathing of the wine allows it to release its aroma by reacting its organic components with the air, known as tannins.
What are Tannins?
Tannins are organic substances present in wine, which provide that sensation of dryness, bitterness, and characteristic harsh flavor on the palate when we consume the wine.
The tannins in the wines can come from both the grapes and the barrels’ wood. The tannins in grapes come from the skins, seeds, and stalks. Red wines are characterized by having more tannins than white wines. This is due to the prolonged contact of the skins with the juice, which causes them to dissolve partially.
Some vines have more tannins than others; for example, we can mention are Nebbiolo, cabernet sauvignon, and tempranillo. On the other hand, the tannins that come from the wood reach the wine through contact with the barrels’ oak staves. The staves provide characteristic odors and give complexity and character to the wine.
How Does a Wine Aerator Work?
The wine aerators are placed in the bottle’s pit or held over the cup while pouring the wine. It is a straightforward process, it doesn’t consume much time, and it has great benefits.
While the wine is served inside the glass, the aerator’s contact between the oxygen and the wine allows the release of the aroma for a better appreciation and differentiation of red wines. Especially younger red wines. In this process, inert gases present in the bottle, such as carbon dioxide (this can dull the aroma and alter its chemical compounds), are also minimized to soften the tannins.
For What Kind of Wines Should a Wine Aerator Be Used?
The aerators are mainly intended for the consumption of young wines. These wines have strong and closed tannins, and their contact with oxygen provokes reactions causing the original aromas of the wine to open, and the smell is appreciated. Young wines generally need up to 1 hour of oxygenation for a correct appreciation of flavors and aromas. And older wines only need a few minutes.
Wine aerators are often used mostly with red wines. This is done to achieve more remarkable flavors and facilitate the appreciation of all the nuances and aromas that a good red wine can provide. Thanks to this, aerators have become a tool for all tasters who know how to appreciate a good read better.
Types of Wine Aerators
Many wine aerators on the market have a particular user according to the type of wine you want to consume. That is why we can find very different models on the market. Here are the most common wine aerators that exist:
- Wine aerator for bottles (wine aerator cap): This type of aerator connects directly to the bottle’s pit as if it were a stopper. Its operation is effortless since you simply have to serve the wine directly into the glass.
- Electric wine aerator: Electric wine aerators are devices that are placed on the bottleneck. They automatically serve the oxygenated wine. This aerator releases small amounts of wine in which the wine comes into contact with the air during a slight free fall before reaching the glass’s interior.
- Wine aerator with filter: These aerators have a filter that helps remove sediment contained in the wine. Its use is opportune when an incident has occurred with the bottle’s stopper or cork.
- Wine aerator with base: It consists of a structure inside which the glass is placed and on top of it is the aerator. A portion of the wine is placed in the aerator, and the latter aerates, and it serves the wine in the glass cup slowly.
- Jumbo wine aerator: It is a conventional wine aerator with the difference of having larger measures. It is designed for use in large or magnum bottles and has a greater capacity than the rest of the aerators.
Why is it Important to Oxygenate a Wine?
As we have said before, the oxygenation or aeration of wine is intended for those young wines. It is common to believe that these types of wines do not need this process. However, despite being an unwanted event during the wine production process, oxygenation is necessary when serving a wine glass as it allows the wine to be awakened from its time in the bottle.
When serving a glass, the wine must display its aromas and nuances. And it will also avoid one of the problems that are usually encountered when uncorking a bottle: an unpleasant smell.
It is sometimes thought that due to this smell, the bottle is spoiled and should be discarded. However, if the bottle is left open to rest and comes into contact with the air, it can be determined if the bottle is really unsound or if that unpleasant smell is due to the lack of oxygen in the wine while it was bottled.
Do all Wines Benefit from a Wine Aerator?
Not all wines benefit from being aerated. Some wines can be damaged during this process, so it is best not to overdo them. To name a few cases: varietal wines and those that emanate fruity, floral, or herbal aromas can lose these nuances if aerated for a long time.
On the other hand, great vintages should be transferred and given time to show their best side. And old wines should not be passed through an aerator as they can lose their sensory properties.
The use of aerators is essential in those cases when there is not enough time to carry out a transfer. Even though aerators accelerate releasing aroma, oxygenate the wine naturally is always the best option if you want to get a good tasting.