Story by Manos Angelakis
Photo courtesy of Waerator
At most of the better restaurants, the sommelier will decant… that is, slowly transfer your still red wine selection, especially the big reds, from the bottle you selected, to a large, wide-bottomed carafe to let it breathe for 20 or so minutes before pouring you a glass. Wine decanting has been seen as pompous, and may sound silly — how can pouring wine from one container into another make it taste better? Yet it works. It is a practice that truly enhances the wine drinking experience.
Originally, wine was decanted to remove sediment from older vintages. Wines aged in bottles threw sediment after perhaps 8 to 10 years. Not only was this sediment displeasing to the eye, it could also be quite unpleasant in the mouth. Nowadays, because of better fining and filtering methods, and because wines are drunk relatively younger, even the very big reds of Spain, France, and Italy rarely throw off sediment. Decanting is performed to aerate the wine, vaporize some of the alcohol, soften the hard tannins, enhance the aromatics, and bring forth the wine’s depth and complexity.
But decanting is no longer the only way to improve the big tannic reds. Through the years, tinkerers have created different gadgets to aerate a wine, soften the hard tannins and improve the aromatics. I have tested a number of them and some work better than others, but few do a good job of aerating a big red compared to decanting. Well… I think that I have found a better, up to now, gadget.
It is called the “Instant Wine Aerator” or “Waerator W2” and is a battery operated gizmo that is inserted at the mouth of a standard 750 ml bottle. It has a long plastic straw that reaches to almost the bottom of the bottle, pulls the wine and dispenses it through a metallic spout on the top of the aerator. It uses 4 AAA batteries. To operate the device, push the black button on top of the housing, while holding a glass under the spout. The wine will be aerated and will fill the glass to the desired level.
Advice: before you aerate your first bottle, fill an empty wine bottle with clear water and run the aerator to ensure that no dust or debris have settled inside the device during transportation. Also, after you finish the bottle, run again some clear water through the system to clean it. If wine is allowed to remain in the device, the possibility of it going bad is there. When you pour from a new bottle, you don’t want wine that has possibly soured to get into you first glass.
For further info see: Waerator W2
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