The methods to let your wine breathe: Aerate or decant?

It’s worth being aware that the old myth of simply removing the cork doesn’t always work and that not all wines need to be left to breath. So if removing the cork isn’t reliable, should you decanter or just simply aerate wine and, when should and shouldn’t you give your wine time to breath? With relatively young and tannic wine it is always best to let the wine breathe by aerating or decanting. Some young wines can be tight or closed on the nose or palate and by letting the wine settle, will enable you to enjoy its full flavour and potential. With these young wines decanting is always recommended to give the wine time to breathe and release its full potential. Decanting is basically just pouring the wine from the bottle in to a wine decanter. Full-bodied wines really benefit being decanted – wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet blends, Syrah, and Syrah blends. However, with an old vintage bottle, it’s not worth the risk aerating it too much. It’s wise to perhaps open the bottle in advance, to taste, in order to find the most suitable glass. If you aerate vintage wine the air can radically damage the quality of the wine due to its complex structure which comes with age. Some connoisseurs argue that swirling the wine in your glass is the best gesture for an aged wine because decanting can expose the wine to too much oxygen, leading to oxidation and dissipation of aromas and flavours.

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