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.