Aeration can be a beneficial process for some wines, specifically younger red varieties.
However, many people may not know whether or not they should be aerating their white wines before drinking them.
To help you understand more about this process, and whether you should aerate white wine, here is what you need to know.
What is Aeration?
Aeration is the process of pouring wine into a decanter and letting it breathe anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours before drinking it.
The full process behind aeration involves the gases in the air reacting with the wine.
This causes both oxidization and evaporation to occur, which causes a change in flavor.
Aerating wine can help remove a lot of the alcohol flavor, and instead, allow you to taste a wider variety of flavors that comprise the wine.
However, aeration can be a tricky process to get right, especially if you’re unsure of how long a specific wine should be aerated for.
Too much oxidization, for instance, can cause a diminishment in the flavor, causing the wine to taste flat.
Should You Aerate White Wine?
The answer isn’t a simple yes or no, as some white wines won’t benefit from aeration, and some may even taste worse.
That said, some white wines can be aerated, though it can come down to a matter of preference more than overall quality.
Generally, fruitier wines shouldn’t be aerated, as it won’t approve their flavor and in some cases can even make their taste poor.
Wines like this are best as soon as they are opened, and even a half-hour of aeration can make them taste flat.
The white wines that can be aerated include heavier, fuller-bodied varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Burgundies, Alsace, and White Bordeaux.
These wines can be aerated for around 30 minutes, although you should take care to watch the temperature.
White wines are best when served cold, as the temperature can help highlight the crispness, aroma, and fruity undertones.
Because of this, you may want to use an electric wine aerator, which can instantly improve the flavor of your wine without risking a loss in temperature that could compromise its profile.
It’s recommended that you experiment a bit with aeration time to determine your preference.
Electric aerators or attachable aerators are good for this, as they can allow you to aerate a single glass, as opposed to a full bottle.
This means you won’t have to sacrifice multiple bottles just to find out which tastes best for you.
How to Aerate Wine
As noted above, electric aerators are an option for those who want to preserve temperature.
However, there are a couple of other methods that you can consider.
For instance, there are aerators that you attach to the bottle which aerate your wine as you pour.
Though not all aerate the same, the level of oxygen infusion can differ between brands.
Decanters are also a well-known method. A decanter is a larger container that you can fill with an entire bottle.
This makes them perfect for gatherings with friends or family where multiple people will be drinking wine. Most decanters feature a larger reservoir for the wine and a small neck.
This shape allows for air to mix with the wine, while also making pouring easier.
If you don’t have an attachable aerator or a decanter, you can pour your wine between two containers to help aerate it before drinking.
This can help improve the flavor of wine without needing to invest in anything specific. While it may require more work, it will work in a pinch.
Similarly, some people use what is called hyper-decanting, which involves using a blender to help infuse oxygen.
On the pulse setting, you can aerate your wine rather quickly. However, it can be difficult to gauge the right level of aeration with this method.
While Aeration Method Is Best?
If you ask 10 wine connoisseurs, you’ll probably end up with 10 slightly different answers.
Some people swear by decanters, while others prefer attachable aerators because of how easy and quick they are to use.
The one that is best for you will depend on your personal preferences and how you best enjoy your wine.
That said, it’s always good to have a decanter on hand for larger gatherings, while an attachable aerator is good to have for single glasses — or two — after a long day at work.
The Best Glass of White Wine
So, can you aerate white wine? Yes.
However, there is no single consensus about how long you should aerate it.
While you should only try to aerate it for under 30 minutes, the exact time can vary between palates.
Take some time to experiment to see what method of aeration and how long you prefer it aerated.
While it may take a little bit of time to get it right, once you find that optimal flavor, you’ll never look back.