For the past few years, I have been using the Vinturi wine aerator with my dry reds. When I recently came across the Host adjustable wine aerator, which allows you to decant any wine from zero to six hours instantly, I was intrigued.
When I was first introduced to the wine aerator, I was skeptical. Was it possible for this little contraption to put enough oxygen into the wine to make a significant difference in taste? So I tried one of my favorite wines side by side through the aerator and was amazed at the difference.
When I first saw this aerator, with the ability to decant the wine by the hour, I was again skeptical. So I decided to test it with a pinot noir, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. I poured three glasses of each type of wine: one control, one at three hours and one at six hours.
The product description states, “The acrylic strainer filters out unwanted sediment while the flow meter regulates the pour for dependable aeration levels every time.” To change the decant time, you simply twist the steel band to show the amount of time you prefer.
With the pinot noir, the control smelled spicy and peppery. Run through the aerator at a three hour decant, there was a clear cherry nose. At the six hour mark, I could catch the cherry notes yet, but also raspberry. I had never tested the effectiveness of the aerator on the nose of wine before and was quite surprised at the significant difference it made.
There was a definitive change in the taste of the wine, as well. The tannins were much smoother as the level of aeration increased. At the six hour mark, the pinot noir felt too mellow and watery for me. My preference would be a three hour decant on this wine. (But strangely enough, I preferred the six hour decant when it came to the smell of the wine.)
With the merlot, the control had vanilla and cherry notes. Although I picked up the same smells throughout the three tastings, the fruit aromas became more prevalent the longer it was decanted.
I could detect oaky flavor when tasting the merlot, but maybe my olfactory bulb isn’t sophisticated enough yet to have picked up on that when swirling and sniffing the wine. The longer the wine was decanted, the smoother it tasted. My preference was the six hour decant with this wine.
The control of the cabernet sauvignon produced a nose filled with spice, currants and blackberries, in my opinion. The three hour decant still had a prevalent spice to it, but the bouquet had seemed to mellow. In the six hour decant, I picked up mostly currant and cherry aromas.
The taste of the control was full of tannins and when I coated my tongue with the wine, I perceived a great deal of bitterness. As the wine was decanted, it was smoother, but I still didn’t care for this particular cabernet sauvignon. I always thought I had enjoyed cabs, but didn’t drink them often because I can usually never find someone to split a bottle with me. I will have to do more investigating to see if it was simply this particular vintage and label or if I have been mistaken on my perception of cabernet sauvignons!
I will have to continue playing with this aerator to find the perfect decant levels for different wines, as I only used three and six in this experiment. As far as I can tell, the less body in the wine, the less decanting it needed to fit my preferences. I will have to do more research on that, as I have never officially decanted. I have always simply used the Vinturi aerator, and I’m not sure how that would translate to hours decanted. I always simply knew that I preferred the taste after it had been run through the aerator. This is where the research gets fun! Maybe next time I will take one wine and try it at every hour mark to differentiate and see what fits my preferences and if my theory holds up.