Until recently I never bothered decanting my wine. It was a case of how quickly can I get this stuff in my guts?! But since having met my friends the eminent Wine Saints, I’ve become more careful with what I do with my wine.
You hear all the time that you’ve got to ‘let the wine breathe’, that pouring your wine into a decanter ‘opens up the wine’. Basically what you’re doing here is allowing oxygen to mix with the wine.
This oxygenation process is vital for the best flavours and aromas of the wine to come forth and please you!
So since my wine epiphany, I’ve accumulated a few decanters and have enjoyed the process of pouring wine into them. I haven’t enjoyed the process of cleaning these receptacles when all the wine’s gone however.
To combat being a bit bummed out by this necessary chore, I asked for a wine aerator for Christmas last year. Talk about life-changing! This little gadget sucks in air from little holes in the side and mixes it as you pour. It really does change the flavour and smell of the wine for the good.
I’ve yet to try decanting wine through the aerator… I feel an experiment coming on.
Anyway, to press the point home on how important it is to aerate your wine, here are two of our three heavenly Wine Saints with their own take on wine oxygenation:
“It’s criminal not to decant. Poor form, I’d say!
Decant your old wine! It brings out all the lovely aromas and flavours. Let it breathe for as long as possible. Wine that’s 10 years old really benefits from being decanted for up to 24 hours. Even 5-6 hours will do it no end of good.
Most wines will come into their optimum after even a couple of hours of being opened and aerated.
Obviously very old wine you need to be more careful with just because it’s so much more delicate. But anything else – out it in a decanter first.”
“I use a filter, which catches any sediment, and then into decanter to aerate. I suppose the filter allows some aeration as well.
Aeration smooths out wine and gets rid of harsh tannins. It opens the wine up and releases its body the way it’s meant to be drunk.
When you’re trying wine and you swirl a little bit in a glass, you’re basically aerating it to taste it as it’s supposed to be tasted.
I don’t aerate everything. It depends on the wine; if it’s too old, I don’t aerate as it’ll make the wine go bad very quickly. I also don’t bother aerating white wine – but then I don’t drink that much white.
Temperature has a big effect on wine too though. In Europe the houses are cooler, so the wine holds its flavour. In Australia, where it’s warmer, wine tends to lose flavour. This happens over about 24dC. White wine at its best at 9dC.”
So there you have it. And if you don’t have a decanter or an aerator, do what a wine merchant told me recently. Pour a little wine out of the bottle, put the top back on and give the bottle a good shake. This will aerate your vino just as well as a decanter.
Alternatively, just get two measuring jugs and pour the wine from one jug to the other a couple of times. Simple!
Do you aerate your wine? What process do you go through when you open a bottle of your favourite plonk? Tell us all in the comments!