To Aerate Or Not To Aerate Your Wine?


For the last few years, I was one of the many that never even went to a restaurant without carrying around my $40.00 Italian Wine Aerator so I could have the server or sommelier at the restaurant pour my wine through it before serving me a glass of red. The principle is that since so many red wines take so long to breathe before they are ready to drink, what was one to do if they only wanted to drink one glass or two without wiating 2 hours for it to “open up” ?

On a recent trip to Italy, I was at La Gerla winery known for their Sangiovese Grosso based wines especially their famous Brunello di Montalcinos. We were drinking 1995 Brunellos out of their cellar and single vineyard Riservas but yet no fancy Aerators. I asked why they never used Aerators. The response I got from Alberto Passeri at La Gerla was that he felt in order to properly evaluate a vintage, he preferred to open his bottles about an hour in advance and taste the wines throughout the course of the meal and see how the wine evolves over the 2 hour period of time. As simple as that sounds, it was an enlightenment to me.

Since I returned, I stopped decanting, aerating, and doing it Alberto’s way and I find that I am enjoying my wines even more than ever as it is like tasting 3 or 4 different layers as the wine “Naturally” opens up as opposed to rushing the process. I guess it’s similar to everything else us rushed American’s do with 60 minute photo, and fast food drive thrus and 10 minute oil changes. Then again, the Italians take 2 hours off in the middle of their day to enjoy lunch with their families while we pack our kids a Lunchable or a PB & J Sandwich. I guess I fell into the American rushed process as well but I suggest like me, that you toss all that stuff aside. Remember in the end, it’s just a glass of wine. We are not peforming brain surgery here. Try it the old fashioned way and don’t rush the process. I bet you that you will enjoy your Red Wines more so like I do now.

2 thoughts on “To Aerate Or Not To Aerate Your Wine?

  1. I’ve never used an aerator. I tasted a glass poured that way and sure it was fine, but I never felt right about it. I DO have to decant on many occasions, did not last nite because it was a 1990 Iron Horse Cabernets lot 2 and felt no urgency. I think you really need to decant on many types of bottles. If I drank a Napanook Dominus without decanting, I’m certainly an idiot. If I drink a new release Barbaresco, likewise.

    1. Hi Alex. Happy New Year. It’s good to have you posting on my new forums. I read your reponse and I used to have your same train of thought when it came to decanting young wines or big tannic reds. As I mentioned in the original post, my recent trip to italy changed my opinion. I used to think I would be an idiot not to decant a young Dominus but now all the decanters are gone as I am finding the Italian mentality of opening the bottle and tasting it over a period of an hour or so has enchanced my pleasure of drinking the wine and improved my ability to truely Review the vintage of that wine! Try it Alex, you might become a non decanting convert:-)

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