Just like a human being, wine is a breathing, living thing. As it undergoes fermentation, it evolves, and this evolution goes on even when it is under storage. One key thing to keep your beverage alive is to ensure it accesses oxygen (shortly though as excessive oxygen exposure destroys wine). In a day or so, exposure to oxygen can eliminate the bulk of the volatiles that add smells to the drink. Remember, it is these smells that influence your sense of taste with the drink.
Oxygen is helpful in “opening up” and releasing wine flavors. Once a bottle of wine is opened, minimal oxygen enters the bottle via the small opening at the top of the bottle. To ensure maximum aeration of your drink, you should allow your wine to get exposed to the gas more rapidly, and wine decanting will really be helpful here. Here are some of the most important decanting tips:
- Agitate the wine by pouring it into a decanter. The design of a decanter facilitates proper aeration as it allows most of the wine to come into direct contact with oxygen. You don’t have a decanter? Use a pitcher with a wide opening. This equipment works like a real decanter. For proper decanting, most wines require 60 -90 minutes. However, some big complex wines may need up to 6 or more hours of decanting.
- If you don’t have an aerator, a blender can still work wonders. All you need is to empty your bottle into the container and run the blender on the lowest setting for a few seconds (15 are enough), and your wine will be well aerated. Pouring your drink back into the bottle using a funnel or a pitcher completes the process.
Although aeration is worth your energy, it works best with red wine. For straightforward whites like chardonnay, Sauvignon, and Pinot Grigio, however, the process is less beneficial. As a general rule, whites don’t require aeration.