Which wines to aerate? Earth And Sky Wine Online | Expedited Home Delivery
Just breathe. Inhale, hold and exhale. A little longer with exhale so you keep the bp low and the mind flowing! But what about airing out the wine? Aeration – to be precise.
What does it mean?
Exposure. Wine exposure. To what? Giving it a chance to breathe before you (the human breathing and potentially salivating) sip it!
The reaction between gases in the air and wine alters the wine flavour!
BUT HOW MUCH?
Some like it “hot” and some “not”. Figuratively speaking, of course! Some wines benefit from aeration and others do not! Methodology is always an important process.
When oxygen and wine interact from a scientific standpoint, there are two important processes (dial it back to those science classes in high school or university): EVAPORATION AND OXIDATION!
Simply put from liquid state to the vapor state. (And lay off those vapes kids!)
The more volatile the compound, the more instantly it evaporates into air. You know that sensation when you open a bottle of wine, you can smell the alcohol. What you are smelling is ethanol in the wine. (For a fun trip down memory lane, you may enjoy our blog on Prince Charles “not riding dirty” in his Aston Martin whip with some red wine fueling it up!)
But am I drinking alcohol so why do I not want that smell? (Let’s not get carried away as it is not Bacardi 151 that you did on a dare back in university. You are a sophisticated sipper now so shots are for the golf course and sipping is for the 19th hole!)
The answer is dispersion. You want to disperse the initial order to make the wine smell better. Thinking of it another way – the way the oenologists and winery wanted you to enjoy it!
Remember there is a reason that there is an alcohol percentage on the bottle because most of the wine is not alcohol. You want to smell the entirety of the wine.
This is particularly apposite (not opposite) when sulfites are adding to the wine. (We, humbly speaking, dropped an informative blog on this topic and why our portfolio focuses more on biodynamic and natural wines). But for those that are still sulfite driven, they are used [in] to protect it from microbes and to prevent too much oxidation but they can have a “burning matches” kind of scent so you will want to waft that odour to where odour belongs. Of course, be respectful of others in this regard.
The chemical reaction between certain molecules in wine and O2 from the air. Remembering there is more in the air than just O2 – certainly depending on where you live!
Certain compounds in wine are more susceptible to oxidation like catechins, anthocyanins, epicatechins. (More on that later!). Even alcohol is susceptible to it. Think how alcohol can be turned into vinegar. Some wines greatly improve from oxidation with respect to flavour and aroma. Again, too much can ruin a wine!
But a little bit of oxidation can assist with fruity and nutty aspects of wine!
WHICH WINES BENEFIT FROM AERATION
Generally speaking (there are always exceptions to the rules) but white wines do NOT benefit from aeration. But why? For our science legends, they lack the high concentrations of pigment molecules that you would find in reds. It is these pigments that alter flavour when responding to the oxidation.
So naturally, we are going to ruminate about red wines and aerating them each time. Yes, you want to show a little skill for the missus so she misses your sophisticated style when you have that perfectly grilled venison and pureed kale and Portobello mushroom sauce and letting the red wine aerate for a little so the flavours dovetail with purity. But which ones should you aerate?
Inexpensive red wines (we know you are not drinking those and rocking that cardboard box with a nozzle on the end but out an abundance of caution) should NEVER be aerated. Especially those overly fruity ones that remind of you that syrupy grape juice you were drinking as a kid for a “sugar high”. If you are such a lockdown that that is all that you have left, then no oxidation. They will go flatter than those that think the world is still flat. (Yes – those people do exist and certainly have never seen Apollo 13 with Tom Hanks – thankfully he and his wife have recovered from their bout with this pandemic!).
AERATE EARTHY AND EXPENSIVE WINES
Red wines that have earthy flavours are the most likely to be bolstered by aeration! Particularly, those that have been stored in your new cellar that you love showcasing. Why? Well, the “vins vernacular” for this is “closed”. Kind of common sense right – wines down in the cellar all corked up is “closed” so this type of wine is augmented by “opening it up” to displaying its “olfactory and tasting range” after it has breathed a little!
HOW TO AERATE
After uncorking an earthy high end expensive wine (we do not necessarily mean price as we do our best to make high quality wines reasonably priced as opposed to the “price gougers” out there), taste it first to see if you think a little aeration would assist. Come back after 15 minutes and sample again. Then same idea every 15 minutes with a new glass. Yes, a little more dish work but that worth the price of admission – or aeration.
Naturally, we cordially invite you to sip the Earth and Sky wine in a sophisticated way and sample the aeration methods above. As always, feel free to drop a comment below to let us know how your aeration methods may be of assistance to your fellow sippers!
Until next time, stay sipping sophisticatedly!