Which wine aerator provides the best bang for your buck?
on 06/05/11 at 8:29 amShop, Wine
THE ANSWER: Aerators are all the rage in the wine-accessories world. I’ve tried out countless versions. Aerators are designed to improve flavour by accelerating wine’s exposure to oxygen. In measured doses, oxygen can soften texture and enhance fruitiness and complexity. The traditional aeration tool is the familiar decanter, a snazzy crystal pitcher that few pretentious connoisseur would be caught without (yes, I’ve got several). The simple act of pouring a bottle into a decanter agitates the liquid, bringing more molecules into contact with air. Most decanters feature a wide bowl that continues the process as the wine sits around. More surface above the liquid exposes the wine to more air.
The aerators you’re asking about are fancy funnels that enable you to do the sloshing one glass at a time, so you can preserve the rest of the bottle for another day. (Air contact tends to improve wine in the short term, but if you leave most wines exposed to lots of air for, say, more than a few hours, they will turn sour or flat.) The Vinturi – and some models like it – automatically draws in extra air through a side hole as the liquid flows downward into the glass. It works well for young wines as well as old, most notably for red wines, which, in my opinion, have a greater tendency to improve with aeration. It’s a subtle effect, to be sure. Unless you’re paying close attention and care about such things, you may not notice much difference. That said, I’ve presented wine novices with aerated and non-aerated samples of the same wine and, without knowing which was which, they generally preferred the aerated wines.