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Thursday
Jul072011

To decant or not to decant: It's probably no longer the question.

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Much has been previously written and for many in wine circles the debate continues about if decanting wine is important or not. Decanting wine serves two significant purposes. In early winemaking processes, many wines were unfiltered which resulted in sediment in the bottom of the bottles. Additionally, exposing wine to oxygen can help open up a wine by letting it breath. If you have a bottle of 1999 Château Lafite Rothschild sitting in your basement, perhaps decanting might be a good idea. In today's world, however, a significant majority of wine purchased in the US is consumed within 24 hours of purchasing. Most new world wines produced today are filtered and have no sediment concerns.

As a result the only benefit likely gained from decanting is the oxygen exposure. Even that is debated. With one school of thought using a decanter to maximize surface area, or rapid oxygenation, versus slow oxygenation whereby a small amount of wine is poured off of the bottle to drop the volume below the level of the neck and the the bottle allowed to breathe for an hour or more before drinking. Decanting is also not very convenient if you are opening a bottle you do not intend to finish in one night as pouring wine from a decanter back into a bottle is a messy experience.

Many young or fruit forward wines consumed today can benefit from a little oxygen prior to enjoying and decanting is time consuming and not practical. Enter the Vinturi wine aerator. Likely named after Italian physicist Giovanni Battista Venturi, the Venturi effect is the reduction of fluid pressure when a liquid flows through a constricted pipe. Picture a thumb on a garden hose. While the velocity increases the static pressure decreases, very much like a jet engine. Venturi has utilized this little bit of technology to provide a tool that can properly aerate a single glass of wine on the fly. Available for both white and red wines, blind taste testing revealed that wine poured through the Venturi was almost always preferred.

If you are looking for something cool to add to your home wine collection, or trying to find an inexpensive gift for that hard to buy person in your life, at about $40 this nifty little gadget is available in most wine stores or online and is a must have for any wine enthusiast.

 

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