It’s fairly well-known in most wine circles that younger reds, which have been cooped up inside their bottles, should be allotted time to breathe and open its flavor. A.k.a: aeration.
We covered the exact science behind aeration and how it benefits your wine a while again, but here’s a crash course:
Aeration is the process of exposing your wine to some fresh air after a long spell of being locked up with all of its tannins and various compounds. Pouring the wine out of the bottle introducing fresh air into the mix, starting a process known as oxidation, which breaks down the harsh tasting compounds and preservatives. This helps the wine’s flavor profile and character to go from “tight” to “open” for optimal enjoyment.
Meanwhile, olders reds (read: 8 – 10 plus years) have a more delicate body and are sensitive to being poured and require very little aeration time.
But what about white wine?
White have always had a bad rap when it comes to the majority of the wine community. Often, many wine lovers tend to turn their noses up at the idea of drinking whites–I’ve heard the line “Oh, I only drink reds–you know, real wine.” from many a friend over the years. But what IS it about white wine that leave room for such uncertainty? The answer might be that most whites used to be aged in wood until the steel aging method was introduced recently–where whites saw a great boost in crisper flavor.
However, what if what you’re tasting is the tannis?
“Should I aerate my white wines?”
Yes. And no.
It’s a tough call.
There is a large and rather well supported myth that you should not aerate your white wines. And most of the time, this turns out to be fairly true. However–it does not extend to EVERY white wine.
White that resemble their red cousins compared to other whites DO benefit from aeration. (Think the “walks like a duck, quacks like a duck” rule). These whites are heavier in mouth-feel and body, and tend to have the same tannins/preservatives as young red wines.
So, which whites should you aerate?
As a rule of thumb, it’s best to stick to whites that pack the same punch, depth, and complexity as your typical scrumptious red wine, such as:
Alsace, Burgundies, White Bordeaux, Chardonnays, and Sauvignon Blancs.
You can let these whites settle in a decorative decanter for 30 minutes–however, letting a white sit out for a prolonged period can be dangerous its most important factor: it’s cool temperature.
Whites are optimal when served cold. The science behind why is to help boost the fruit-filled flavors and aromas present in the wine, and underline its natural acidity. And to be honest, who doesn’t love a the traditional crisp impression of a good white wine?
To keep your whites cool but oxidized, it might be best to consider an electronic wine aerator to instantly open your wine’s flavor without sacrificing its fresh profile.
Experts in white wine stress that it is important to experiment with just how much you want to aerate your wine–but that could be a waste of a perfectly good bottle! But have no fear, if you’re in possession of an electric aerator, you’ll be able to run your mad scientist oxidation experiment PER GLASS, as opposed to an entire bottle.
If you’re looking to get to know your exact preferences for white wine aerator, the Waerator® might just be up your alley. You don’t always want to aerate your whites, but if you come accross one with heavy tannins and that burnt match tang, run the wine through the Waerator® and taste the world of difference.
So, there it is.
The myth behind white wines an aeration is busted.
While you won’t be leaving your dessert wines in a decanter any time soon, you should definitely consider introducing some fresh air into the rich, complicated flavors of your buttery chardonnay.
Just don’t leave your whites sitting out to warm–grab an electric aerator.
Your white wines will thank you.