Yes, we own a store where we have lots of wine accessories so I probably have more decanters and aerators than the average person, but I always find myself debating with Mike, the hubby, whether we should decant or aerate so I decided to do some research…
Here are the definitions of each from dictionary.com
- de·cant /dəˈkant/ – verb – gerund or present participle: decanting – gradually pour (liquid, typically wine or a solution) from one container into another, especially without disturbing the sediment.
- aer·ate /ˈerāt/ – verb – introduce air into (a material).
These definitions are funny to me because that is how I think of Decanting vs. Aerating and why it can be a topic of conversation in our house. Which one is better? In my eyes you decant older European wines to open them up and get rid of the sediment. You aerate newer American style wines to quickly oxidize and open the flavors.
At the end of the day, they both serve a similar purpose which is to expose wine to air. Wine has 100’s of different compounds but there are three that you really do want to allow aeration into, Sulfites (added to prevent oxidation), Sulfides (natural but have a rotten smell), and Ethanol.
Suggestions of When to Decant:
- If you have the time
- An older wine that needs the sediment removed
- If you will be consuming a BIG Bordeaux or Napa Valley Cab that may require a couple hours of decanting to fully open up and unlock the tannins
- Hosting an event, dinner party and want to impress family/friends
If you don’t have time or don’t have a fancy decanter or an aerator, don’t fret…just swirl! 😊 You know when you go wine tasting and you see tasters swirling their wine, this is an organic way of aerating the wine.