Quick Recipes and Easy

A Little Air for You Wine

You have seen it a million times. Wine is opened and allowed to aerate to bring out the fullness of the flavor. So, what is all of this about?

Certain wines tend to have a reaction to oxygen. They often oxidize a bit when exposed to air after having been stored. This is a excellent thing as it tends to bring out the aroma and even taste of the wine.

The process of introducing oxygen to wine is known as aerating. Many people call it breathing, as in let the wine “breathe.” The process seems simple enough, but many get it incorrect. The removal of a cork from the bottle will not aerate the wine. The opening is simply too small and the surface of the wine interacting with the oxygen is also too small. The wine will not breathe! It will be more like suffocating!

To properly aerate a wine, you can take two steps. The first is to pour it into a decanter. A decanter is a glass device that often looks like a work of art. They come in a variety of shapes, but generally tend to be horizontal. This allows the wine to aerate as it is exposed to more air across its surface. Plus, it looks pretty snazzy!

A more common way to aerate a wine is to simply pour it into your wine glasses. So, how long do you need to leave it there? Well, a general guide is ten minutes before you drink. The downside of this approach, of course, is few people wait the full ten minutes. Taking a sip after a minute is not going to result in much difference in aroma or taste.

Importantly, not all wines should be allowed to breathe. White wines, for instance, generally do not need it. On the other hand, red wines generally do need it. There are exceptions to this rule, so make sure you know the protocol for the wine you are drinking.

Xavier Moldini is with



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