Should You Let Your Wine Breathe?

We all want our wine to taste as good as it does when we are at a winery.

There are quite a few things that can impact the taste of wine, including decanting and how long you let wine breathe. The idea of letting a wine breathe is simply exposing it to air for a period to soften flavors and release aromas.

Not all wine needs to be decanted, which is simply pouring wine from the bottle into another vessel slowly, without disturbing any sediment.

It becomes more essential for younger red wines that need maximum aeration, or older wines to remove sediment.

If you have a young Rhône red, you may want to decant to soften it. But for a sauvignon blanc, you don’t want to dull the qualities.

Still, most wines will improve with some aeration, either decanted or a quick swirl in the glass. Breathing helps draw out specific flavors and aromas.

Typically, red wines benefit most from breathing.

Young red wines high in tannins need aeration to make the wine less harsh. When you get to aged reds, they all need to breathe, including cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel and Bordeaux.

Some just pop the cork and let the wine breathe in the bottle. However, you’re only allowing a small portion of the wine to thrive. Instead consider either decanting, pouring in the glass and waiting, or aerators.

For decanting, any large container with a wide opening will do, but there are some lovely decanters out there to look lovely at a dinner party. Give at least 30 minutes to let the wine breathe.

You can let the wine breathe after pouring into your glass, just make sure you have a red wine glass with a wide opening then pour, swirl and wait up to 15 minutes if you can hold out that long.

Aerators are another option and there are many portable options. When you pour the wine into the aerator over your glass of wine, it brings more oxygen into your pour. Some attach directly to the wine bottle.

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