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A Breath of Excellence: How to Aerate Wine for Maximum Taste and Enjoyment

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Ever wondered why wine connoisseurs often talk about letting wine "breathe"? Or what swirling your wine in the glass really does? Welcome to the wonderful world of wine aeration. In this informative guide, we'll unravel the mystery of why we aerate wine, what this magical process does to your favorite drink, and what wines most benefit from a little air.

We will cover the science behind aeration and the best practices. We will also answer the most common questions about aeration. How to aerate wine? Can you aerate white wine? Let’s find out. To know more about aeration, see our article on why aerate wine and its benefits.

Rapidly aerate wine as you pour

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, Rapidly aerate wine as you pour

Why Aerate Wine?

Wine is more than fermented grape juice. How you store and serve it, how you present it and at what temperature, it all plays a role in creating enjoyable moments around the table.

The world of wine is about wine, but it is also about glassware, decanters, tools and gadgets. To enjoy wine at its fullest, you must use the right tools and techniques, which vary depending on the wine style.

Aerating wine is one of the most straightforward techniques in the wine lover’s tool belt, and it relies on nothing but air to make the wine smell and taste better. Aerating wine brings out the best in it with little effort, so knowing how to use a wine aerator is a considerable advantage and you’ll love the results.


Understanding Wine Aeration. Let the Wine “Breathe”

Aerating wine is nothing more than exposing it to air. The more exposure, the better, but you want it to be an even process affecting every drop of wine, and there are several ways to achieve your goal.

Aeration volatilizes aromatic compounds as they react with oxygen. Tannins also oxidize and break down, becoming less astringent. When you aerate wine, its alcohol evaporates faster, carrying aromatic compounds with it, and even foul odors, such as sulfur scents, will dissipate with this technique. Aeration opens up the wine’s flavors and makes it overall more enjoyable. Now, let’s talk about how to aerate wine, which wine to aerate and how long to aerate wine.

What Wine Styles Should Be Aerated?

Now that we’ve discussed aeration and its uses, let’s answer one of the most pressing questions. Which wines benefit from aeration? The answer might surprise you: it depends.

All wines might benefit from aeration; only you decide which bottles to aerate and which to pour straight. Having said that, some wine styles are more complex and require aeration to shine.

Full-bodied red wines. Wine meant to age is concentrated and has large amounts of tannins. These tannins require aeration to soften. These wines are also complex on the nose, so aerating them volatilizes their bouquets.

Young, tannic red wines. Young wines are naturally fruit-forward and expressive, but young, tannic reds can be too astringent. Aerating them will soften the wine’s mouthfeel while revealing scents hidden behind the initial fruit aromas.

Full-bodied white wines. Can you aerate white wine? Of course, you can, and you should. Rich white wines, such as oak-aged Chardonnay and similar styles, can be as complex as red wines and might need some air to open fully.


How to Aerate Wine

Aerating wine is not as complicated as it seems. If you feel the wine could be more expressive or is not opening as it should, aerate it. Aeration might have a noticeable change in how you perceive the wine, or the changes might be subtle; either way, you owe it to your guests and yourself to try to bring the best out of every bottle.

Although dedicated aerators are the most efficient way of oxygenating wine, they are not the only way to expose the precious liquid to the air; there are various tools to use to aerate wine. Here are all your options.

1. Pour and Swirl
Most wines, particularly young ones, don’t require much oxygenation, so they’ll open up the moment you pour them into a wine glass. Before considering other aeration methods, pour yourself a sip of wine and assess the need for aeration.
Swirling the wine while in the glass is standard practice, and it’s because it is a reliable way of opening the wine or letting it breathe between sips. Of course, pouring and swirling might not be enough to open tannic wines or wines that spent years in oak barrels. These need a more active type of aeration.

2. Decant
Knowing how to aerate wine with a decanter is critical when dealing with well-aged wines with elevated concentrations that will take longer to open.
Decanting wine, not dissimilar to pouring it into a wine glass, exposes it to air, effectively aerating it. Decanters often have broad surfaces for a reason; they are designed to expose the most amount of the wine’s surface to air.
Decanting is not always ideal, as it requires you to open the bottle. Decanting might not be for you if you use a Coravin preservation system to preserve the wine without committing to an entire bottle.

3. Use Aerators

Once you know how to use an aerator for wine, a world of possibilities opens, as you can make even the most introverted of wines expressive efficiently.
Not all aerators are the same, but they do a similar job of exposing the wine to air as you pour. Aerating pourers designed to put the wine in contact with air are often inexpensive. Still, they are less effective than wine aerators that separate the wine into the smallest droplets, ensuring an even aeration. For more information about Coravin Aeration Systems, explore Coravin Aeration.


Using Coravin’s Timeless and Pivot aerators

There are many tools to aerate wine, but they’re not equally effective or easy to use. There are several ways to aerate wine, from crystal siphon aerators to ordinary carafes.

Coravin is an innovative company focused on wine preservation, and its aerators complement its products. Both the Coravin Timeless and Pivot systems are compatible with state-of-the-art aerators that allow you to oxygenate wine as you pour while preserving your wine collection. These are the two Coravin aerators and their uses. The best aerator for you depends on the system you use to preserve your wine bottles.

Coravin Timeless Aerator

This efficient aerator is compatible with the Coravin Timeless Wine Preservation Systems, which use the revolutionary needle mechanism to pour wine from a bottle without removing the cork, preserving the wine for extended periods. The Timeless Aerator takes the system one step further, dropping the need for decanting, as it oxygenates the wine as you pour, ensuring expressive wines with aromatic complexity and smooth textures.

Get the Coravin Timeless Aerator on its own or as part of the complete Timeless Three+ package along with two Coravin Pure™ Argon Capsules, two Coravin Screw Caps and a Coravin Aerator.

Coravin Pivot Aerator

An essential tool compatible with Coravin’s Pivot Wine Preservation System. This accessory allows you to aerate wine from bottles preserved with Coravin’s unique pivot system.

Aeration with the Coravin Pivot Aerator is equivalent to decanting wine for 60-90 minutes, guaranteeing expressive wine and silky tannins. Press a button and allow the wine to flow, creating a gentle shower that exposes every droplet to air.

Get the Coravin Pivot Aerator on its own or as part of the complete Pivot + package along with a Pivot Device, Pivot stoppers and Coravin Pure Argon Capsules.

Other Aerators and Gadgets

Aerators come in all shapes and sizes. Some you fit on the bottle’s neck, while others you pour into them. Decanters and carafes are aerators as well, and so is your wine glass.

Aerating is not a hard science. Some wines need a little oxygen to express themselves, and there are many ways to aerate them. No matter the tools you use to aerate wine, what matters is that you do so confidently and based on your perception of the wine. Not all wines might benefit from aeration, but ultimately, you decide.

How to Aerate Wine, FAQs

1. What Is Aeration?

Aeration exposes wine to air to volatilize its aromatic molecules and sometimes soften its tannins. Wines in all styles can benefit from aeration.

2. How does aeration affect the wine?

Aerating the wine exposes it to air, encouraging evaporation, volatilization and controlled oxidation. Sulfites also dissipate, and alcohol evaporates.

3. Which wines benefit from aeration?

Any wine can taste better after aeration, but not all of them do. Young wines can become more expressive, AKA fruity, while well-aged wines can “wake up” from their slumber. Generally, full-bodied red wines, tannic wines and full-bodied (oak-aged) white wines are the most common aerated wines.

4. How long to aerate wine?

Aeration is an instant process, especially with aerators that disperse the wine, such as the Coravin aerator systems. However, the wine will continue to open while it sits in the glass, wildly if swirling often.

5. How to Aerate Wine?

The easiest and most effective way of aerating wine is by using a professional aerator system that allows you to aerate as you pour while preserving the remaining wine in the bottle.

Aerate Wine And Bring The Best Out Of It

To aerate or not to aerate. That is the question. Aeration is unnecessary for all wines, but wines in any style might benefit from it. When in doubt, taste the wine and ask yourself, is this wine showing its best? Will it gain something from aeration? If the answer is yes, follow your heart and aerate the wine.

Wine is meant to be shared and enjoyed; it doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you are mindful of your style, glassware, temperature or service choices. Now that you know more about this unique technique, add Coravin Aerator Systems to your collection and aerate away!