This guest post was written by Anna Elliott of Aervana, exclusively for Social Vignerons.
“So, you’re sitting down for dinner and your wine-connoisseur friend (Branson) tells you:
“you really must let your wine “breaaathe” before drinking it”. This is almost definitely not the first time you’ve heard this.
Whether from wine bloggers like Social Vignerons, wine tasting room staff, or from the aforementioned wine-connoisseur friend, Branson, you’ve learned that many wines can use a little air after being cooped up in a bottle for so long.
You’ve likely even tasted the difference between an angsty, young tannic red, punching your palate straight out of the bottle and the same red, “opened-up,” more mature and ready to show off its true flavors and aromas. Okay, so Branson may be right, but what are your options?
What are the options to let a wine breathe?
Truth is, you have quite a few:
- You could pour the wine into a decanter, but the pasta is getting cold while we hash through this together, and decanting can take anywhere from 20 minutes to a few hours, depending on the wine. If that’s your choice, see Social Vignerons’ Beginner’s Guide to Decanting Wine
- You might also have a kitchen drawer full of aerating devices that could do the trick. Social Vignerons actually lists and tests some wine accessories doing that, see all SV’s posts about Wine Accessories.
But before you go rummaging through your drawer’s accessories, there’s a product doing aeration a little differently that you should consider: the Aervana electric wine aerator.
At this point, you can just imagine me crossing my arms and blinking, so an Aervana appears in your hands at the dinner party (#magic #poof, you’re welcome).
Aervana works by aerating and dispensing simultaneously, delivering aerated wine to your glass in real time. Once you place Aervana on top of the wine bottle, all you have to do is push the button on top for the “aeration magic” to happen.
Since Aervana actually pressurizes the air in the bottle, rather than injecting air into it, only the wine that is forced up through the dispenser and into your glass is aerated, leaving the rest of the bottle as it was.
And, since all it takes is one finger and the push of a button, you can skip the potential mess from dripping and spilling often inherent with lift and pour-through aerators. Now, with Aervana, that biting young red is feeling nice and relaxed in your glasses, Branson is appeased, and you can enjoy your dinner and your wine at its best.
To get the inside scoop on aerating and Aervana from someone who knows how to dish it out, we sat down with aspiring Master Sommelier, Eliza Christen of David Chang’s Momofuku Ko restaurant in NYC. Here’s what she had to say on life, wine, and the pursuit of proper aeration:
Q: What inspired you to get in to the world of wine and to study to become a sommelier?
Eliza Christen: During college, I started working at a fine dining restaurant with a culture of education. Wine became an indispensable part of creating the dining experience customers would participate in at the restaurant. As a new staff member just starting out and hungry to learn, nothing about wine was off limits; I was able to taste all of the bottles that were opened throughout the night, many of which were well beyond what I could comprehend (and afford) at that point in my life. That, along with the incredible way wine would pair with food, prompted me to set out to learn everything I could about how to enjoy wine, as well as how great wines are made.
Q: When your clientele orders a nice wine (that could benefit from aeration), what is your/their preferred method of decanting/aerating? Why?
Eliza Christen: The traditional method of decanting at a restaurant usually involves carefully pouring a bottle of wine into an ornate, sizable glass vessel. The process of slowly pouring the wine into the decanter exposes the wine to air. Though beautiful, the decanters are cumbersome, intimidating and tricky to clean. Aervana, however, is very easy (and fun!) to use and quick to clean. The sleek look of the aerator itself is great on the table, as well. Old wines also tend to have sediment in the bottle, and pouring into a traditional decanter without dumping sediment in the glass can be tricky. With Aervana, as long as the bottle is kept standing, there is no need to worry about jostling sediment up into the wine.
Q: Why aerate?
Eliza Christen: It’s fun to see how a wine develops and evolves over time as it is exposed to oxygen
from being opened. Aeration softens up tannins in young wines, making them much more approachable to drink. Aervana is also a great way to coax a muted older wine back to life through rapid contact with air.
If you want to speed up the process of oxidation reactions, using Aervana will certainly do the job in an elegant fashion. Traditional aerating can take hours of sitting in a decanter before the wine finally opens up.
Q: What wines benefit most from aeration?
Eliza Christen: Tannic young wines or older developed wines (such as bold Australian shiraz, rich California cabernet and distinguished Bordeaux) can all benefit from aeration.
Q: Do you ever decant/aerate white wines? If so, what types and why?
Eliza Christen: Certain white wines can especially benefit from aeration, and I decant whites for the same reason I decant reds– to allow the aromatics to blossom. White wines that have been aged in oak barrels, as well as aromatic grape varietals, such as viognier and gerwurtztraminer, are very suitable to aeration.
Q: What wines should NOT be decanted?
Eliza Christen: All wines can benefit from decanting on some level. There are few exceptions of century old, super fragile wines, but, for the most part, I like the effect aeration has on all my wines, white or red.
Q: Is there a particular region you’re fond of? If so, which one and why?
Eliza Christen: Anything Italian. To me, old world wines, Italian especially, have a magical quality about them that communicates personality and soul. Drinking Italian wines, I often get a clear sense of the winemaker and where the wine is from. The great benchmark Italian wines, such as Barolo, both young and old, are also great examples of heavily tannic wines that benefit from using Aervana to really showcase their complexity.
Another reason why I am especially fond of Italian wines is that, aside from the few renowned regions (Barolo/Brunello di Montalcino), wines from the many other fantastic, but not yet popular, regions are wonderfully underpriced!
Q: What are some of your favorite wines right now?
Eliza Christen: I recently had San Fereolo’s unique expression of dolcetto at a restaurant, and while I was taken with the wine right away, I felt that, during the length of time that we were at the table, it didn’t show everything it had to offer. I later picked up another (couple) bottles for home and used Aervana to serve the wine with pasta. In this wine that I already enjoyed, I saw a much improved and opened expression of the aforementioned Italian soul that I love! The tannins were definitely still present, but had softened to show the lovely fruit and earth characters– transportive qualities that took me to the hills of Piedmont.
To learn more or to order your very own Aervana, check out our website here.
Or Watch our Youtube Video below
Cheers! We hope you can #ReachAervana soon!