The Process of Aerating Wine
To produce a desirable, aromatic flavorful wine, it goes through aeration, which is a process by which air is circulated through, mixed with or dissolved in a liquid, like wine, to evaporate the volatile undesirable components, allowing the desirable components to remain in the wine.
There are two chemical reactions that take place when you aerate a wine and these are the oxidation process, which takes place when something is exposed to oxygen, and evaporation process, which is a process of a liquid turning into a vapor and escaping into the air.
Wine is aerated using a decanter, which is known to be the oldest and most frequently used aerators, made from glass and comes in a variety of shapes and sizes; the process takes place by just leaving the wine in the decanter for 15-20 minutes, although the time it takes will depend on the type of wine. A simple way to aeration can also be done by just opening a bottle of wine, although it takes a lot longer for the process to take place due to the narrow head of the bottle, thereby, restricting the wines access to oxygen. Wines can also be aerated using aerator gadgets, which have patented designs, but the principle method is similar, which is forcing the wine through a funnel that enables a pressurized force of oxygen to interact with it, the result of which is instant aeration.
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Young red wines with a heavy tannin base or red wines with complex and bold structure or old aged wines are perfect for decanting, although not all wines need to be aerated, since the process can actually ruin the complexity of some wines and destroy their flavor profile.
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Young red wines, which are known for their high tannic profiles, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera, Bordeaux, Montepulciano, etc, are slightly aerated to allow the tannins to mellow a bit, softening the wine’s harsh edges and making it a more pleasant drinking experience that isn’t overpowered by a tannic punch.
When red wine is aged for eight to ten years, its various elements, such as tannins and other components, bind together, solidify, and sit as sediments on the wine bottle, and since the sediments taste bitter, the red wine undergoes a decanting method, separating the bitter sediment from the liquid wine, by pouring the wine slowly so as not to agitate the sediments on the bottom of the wine bottle.
To achieve that dry, full-bodied taste in white wines, some go to the process of aeration, like Burgundy, white Bordeaux, Corton-Charlemagne, Alsace.
For wines that are aged for around twenty and above years, like vintage port wines, the duration of aging time has built up sediments in the bottles, so that by putting these wines through the decantation process will help expose its flavorful taste.