Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Give Me Your Tired, Poor Wine Yearning to Breathe Free

While at the Rosenblum Cellars tasting room, we were introduced to the wonder that is the Vinturi Wine Aerator. We tried one of the wines with and without the aerator, and were astounded at the difference it made.

The idea behind aerating wine, or letting it breathe, that by exposing wine, young reds in particular, to air, you "open up" and improve the taste and the aroma.

How to do this? Well, you can open up the bottle and let it sit there for a while, and then drink it. We have never been patient enough to do this. When we open a bottle, it's so we can drink it right now. Plus, the shape of the bottle isn't really conducive to air exposure.

Or, you can decant the wine into another container. I think crystal decanters are lovely, but we don't have one, and anyway, the idea of pouring wine out of a perfectly nice bottle into a decanter just to pour it into a glass right away seemed to be just another step between me and that glass of wine.

There are also numerous aerating tools, including this Wine Whisk, but we don't have any of those. And anyway, did they really make a difference?

So, into the aerate-less world, enters the Vinturi Aerator. You simply pour wine through it into the glass. It makes a rather rude sound as the wine goes through and adds little bubbles into your glass. It all happens somewhat quickly and without a lot of flashing lights, leaving one to wonder if it really did anything.

Once you taste the wine, though, you realize that it does. It makes a huge difference. Taste some wine without using it, and then taste the same wine using the Aerator, and the taste difference can be spectacular. In some cases, we were surprised that they were the same wine. Unaerated, the wine was harsh and sharp; aerated, it was smooth and much better.

The Aerator isn't a performance enhancing tool for all wines - it made hardly any difference at all in some of the higher end Rosenblums, for example, and it didn't stop the Cigarzin from giving Foodgoat a raging red wine headache - and we haven't tried it on whites, but it did work wonders on some of the cheaper red wines that we've tried it with. A $10 bottle of wine that we initially disliked suddenly tasted like a $20 bottle. This $40 tool may end up saving us money in the long run.

Plus, it's pretty and it's fun to show people.

The lesson for me? Wine needs to be served properly to get the most out of it. And that includes adequate aeration, if that's what it needs. It's amazing how paying attention to little details in serving wine can make such a big difference in how it tastes.

4 comments:

  1. But, is this form of aeration that the vintner intended, and therefore, does it actually end up corrupting the flavor? I'm with you, however, on the process. I don't think my guests appreciate my hastiness when I drink directly from the bottle. I would really appreciate your opinion on a wine post I published today and its follow-up this coming Monday. thanks. www.thedishonfood.com

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  2. Who cares what the wine makers intend (even though they do suggest aeration).

    What we care about here at Foodgoat is how it tastes, and this little tool makes a young wine taste GREAT!

    It takes out the harsh spikes so you can focus on the flavors.

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  3. Ooh, ooh! We got one of these for Christmas from a fellow wine-lover, who swore by it. I don't have the most discriminating taste when it comes to wine (...hey, at least I'll admit it...), but my hubby and my oenophile parents were all astounded by the difference it made. Like you, I just liked pouring wine through it for the sheer novelty... :D

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  4. Burgundy wine
    (French: Bourgogne or Vin de Bourgogne) is wine made in the Burgundy region in eastern France.[1] The most famous wines produced here - those commonly referred to as Burgundies - are red wines made from Pinot Noir grapes or white wines made from Chardonnay grapes. Red and white wines are also made from other grape varieties, such as Gamay and Aligoté respectively. Small amounts of rosé and sparkling wine are also produced in the region. Chardonnay-dominated Chablis and Gamay-dominated Beaujolais are formally part of Burgundy wine region, but wines from those subregions are usually referred to by their own names rather than as "Burgundy wines".

    Burgundy has a higher number of Appellation d'origine contrôlées (AOCs) than any other French region, and is often seen as the most terroir-conscious of the French wine regions. The various Burgundy AOCs are classified from carefully delineated Grand Cru vineyards down to more non-specific regional appellations. The practice of delineating vineyards by their terroir in Burgundy go back to Medieval times, when various monasteries played a key role in developing the Burgundy wine industry. The appellations of Burgundy (not including Chablis).

    Overview in the middle, the southern part to the left, and the northern part to the right. The Burgundy region runs from Auxerre in the north down to Mâcon in the south, or down to Lyon if the Beaujolais area is included as part of Burgundy. Chablis, a white wine made from Chardonnay grapes, is produced in the area around Auxerre. Other smaller appellations near to Chablis include Irancy, which produces red wines and Saint-Bris, which produces white wines from Sauvignon Blanc. Some way south of Chablis is the Côte d'Or, where Burgundy's most famous and most expensive wines originate, and where all Grand Cru vineyards of Burgundy (except for Chablis Grand Cru) are situated. The Côte d'Or itself is split into two parts: the Côte de Nuits which starts just south of Dijon and runs till Corgoloin, a few kilometers south of the town of Nuits-Saint-Georges, and the Côte de Beaune which starts at Ladoix and ends at Dezize-les-Maranges. The wine-growing part of this area in the heart of Burgundy is just 40 kilometres (25 mi) long, and in most places less than 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) wide. The area is made up of tiny villages surrounded by a combination of flat and sloped vineyards on the eastern side of a hilly region, providing some rain and weather shelter from the prevailing westerly winds. T

    he best wines - from "Grand Cru" vineyards - of this region are usually grown from the middle and higher part of the slopes, where the vineyards have the most exposure to sunshine and the best drainage, while the "Premier Cru" come from a little less favourably exposed slopes. The relatively ordinary "Village" wines are produced from the flat territory nearer the villages. The Côte de Nuits contains 24 out of the 25 red Grand Cru appellations in Burgundy, while all of the region's white Grand Crus are located in the Côte de Beaune. This is explained by the presence of different soils, which favour Pinot Noir and Chardonnay respectively. Further south is the Côte Chalonnaise, where again a mix of mostly red and white wines are produced, although the appellations found here such as Mercurey, Rully and Givry are less well known than their counterparts in the Côte d'Or. Below the Côte Chalonnaise is the Mâconnais region, known for producing large quantities of easy-drinking and more affordable white wine. Further south again is the Beaujolais region, famous for fruity red wines made from Gamay. Burgundy experiences a continental climate characterized by very cold winters and hot summers. The weather is very unpredictable with rains, hail, and frost all possible around harvest time. Because of this climate, there is a lot of variation between vintages from Burgundy.
    You can find more info at: http://www.burgundywinevarieties.com/

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