I have always loved decanting wines, there is a romance and theatre to it, almost like a Japanese tea ceremony. When I worked in Michelin star restaurants I would always be delighted when a customer ordered a wine which required decanting, not only did it provide pleasure for me but often the customers were equally as interested in what I was doing.
Since leaving the Michelin star scene, my decanter has seen less use and this is because I’ve started using an aerator instead. These aerators have gained just as much interest with the public and I have often told the customer:
“They do the job of a decanter but without the faff”
Recently at a wine tasting, it dawned on me that I had never actually tested this theory and wondered if an aerator is better or worse than the decanter. With this in mind, there was only one option, a “scientific” experiment testing the different methods for aerating your wine. So I bought the boldest, most intense wine I could get my hands on, an American Cab Sauv blend and set about my task, tough times I know.
Base test: Firstly I pour a small amount of wine straight from the bottle into the glass. When I try to smell the aromas of the wine I mainly get alcohol, all the other smells appear muted or are not there at all. When I taste the wine it’s very similar, a bit too intense.
Option 1: The Decanter
No matter how you store your decanter job number one is clean it before use, it seems to attract dust on the inside and outside. I pour the wine slowly and carefully into the decanter, standing under a bright downlight so I can see if any sediment goes past the neck of the bottle. As soon as I smell I notice a difference, the alcoholic notes have gone and the fruit and savoury notes of the wine are much more obvious. The wine tastes better too.
Option 2: The Aerator
I stick the aerator on top of the bottle and pour, it’s that simple. As it’s dishwasher safe, it easy to keep clean too. as the wine pours out it makes a sucking noise, which lets me know it’s working. As with the decanter, the wine is much more pleasant to smell and I can start to pick out individual notes like blackcurrant and cedar. The wine tastes noticeably smoother than the base test, it feels more mellow and balanced.
Option 3: The Blender
We had heard that putting your wine through a blender does the same thing as decanting. So we tried this out at the same time. To find out how it tasted, watch the full video here.
Conclusion: I really struggled to notice a difference between the Decanter and the aerator, however, the difference between them and the base test was massive. With that in mind, I think both of these wine gadgets deserve a place in your home. The decanter should be kept for special occasions or special wines. The aerator should be used on almost everything else, It’s such a small change to make to your routine and the difference is massive. As such we have recently started selling these aerators on our website, click here.