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Wine Aeration and Decanting
The process of decanting is a long-known tradition. On the one hand, it is about the taste of wine that is concerned, on the other hand, there is a little bit of science involved in the process. All in all, decanting is not just pouring wine from bottle into another container - it is a lot more than that.
The fact that red wine needs to breathe is not news. It is necessary both for young and mature wine, thought to a different extent. Traditionally wine was aerated by the process of decanting - before drinking it was left to breath for an hour at least. Leaving wine open for a period of time let it mix with the air and therefore the tannins get softened and sediments settle. In the result we get enriched and flavored wine. Nowadays the process of aeration has become simpler with all the available appliances but there is one thing to take into consideration.
The thing is that the practices that are so frequently confused by many people - decanting and aerating - are not actually the same. Aeration represents a process that allows oxygen to mix with wine therefore enriching and refining the taste of the latter. Decanting resembles the process to some extent but it is more about it as it also (or in the first place) removes sediment.
Red wine tends to develop sediment with aging. Visual sediment that creates some sort of cloudy effect is not a big deal but it is also possible that there are larger particles in the sediment. That is why decanting is important. If you do not do it, you are likely to drink wine with unpleasant color and bad taste.
There are a lot of wine aerators and they are generally set on top of the glass (or a decanter). Then the wine is poured through. Such way of aeration reveals the best aroma and taste of the wine. But again, an aerator is not necessarily a decanter, and while it lets your wine breath, it will not necessarily remove sediment. So, perhaps, it is better to use both practices in order to reach the ultimate result.
All in all, wine drinking process is not just and only about drinking after all. Decanting is an important part of it. If you try once to decant aged red wine, you will understand this feeling of anticipation while it lasts, and delight when you take the first drink.