When most people begin their first foray into the world of premium wines, one of the first topics they explore is wine aeration. The process of aeration is commonly used to enhance the flavor of wine, and it can be accomplished in a number of ways.
When wine is stored in a bottle, it has minimal exposure and contact with oxygen. When the bottle is uncorked and the wine is poured, the wine is exposed to air and is thereby subject to oxidation and evaporation. Both of these processes, which are the result of contact with the air, or aeration, can alter compounds in and enhance the flavor of the wine. This is because undesirable compounds such as ethanol and sulfates tend to evaporate quickly, leaving a more pleasant and truer flavor.
Proper aeration does take some knowledge, as aerating for too long can end poorly, resulting in a dull, flat wine. For any wine, there is a certain point at which the benefits of aeration peak and the wine begins to deteriorate in flavor. While wines with higher concentrations and densities may take longer to aerate, more fragile or aged wines may fully peak within only a matter of minutes.
How to Properly Aerate Wine
Wine aeration is a somewhat tricky craft, but there are multiple ways to do it properly. In fact, one method is as simple as pouring a glass and allowing the wine to sit for 15-20 minutes. Another straightforward aeration solution is to use a decanter, which is a glass container specifically shaped to maximize wine’s contact with air by increasing its surface area. Wine can also be instantly aerated with gadgets created for the exact purpose. Mechanical aerators force air throughout the wine quickly, which can aerate an entire bottle in a flash. However, not all wines benefit from aeration, and generally, white wines and rosé wines do not need aeration at all.
Aerating wine can enhance its natural flavors, but it’s equally important to ensure that the wine is stored properly. For more information about wine storage, read about the benefits of the storage system offered by Collection 55 Cellars or view our rates online.
Even the newest wine drinkers can tell the difference between whites and reds, but distinguishing the subtle differences among white varietals is a bit more challenging. Each type of white wine offers its own unique profile, and knowing the basics is the first step to finding new favorites. This guide examines what makes a white wine and explores three of the most popular white varietals: chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and pinot grigio.
White Wine Basics
Wine novices may be surprised to learn that white wines can be produced from either red or white grapes; many white wines get their lighter hue because they’re fermented without the skins. Juice from these grapes is fermented at lower temperatures in order to preserve more fruit-forward flavors. White wines can be paired with a number of different foods, but they’re especially suited for seafood, lighter vegetables, and cream- or oil-based sauces.
Found across the globe, chardonnay is the most popular white wine in the world. It is bold, dry, and full-bodied, and its oak aging gives it a distinct note of creamy vanilla. When chardonnay grapes are grown in cooler climates, the wine emerges more acidic and offers notes of apple and pear. In warmer climates, chardonnay can often be higher in alcohol content, with more tropical fruit flavors.
While its reach isn’t quite as far as chardonnay, sauvignon blanc is produced in a variety of regions, from Bordeaux and the Loire Valley in France to California, New Zealand, and Chile. It’s a light-bodied white with lots of acidity and fruit flavors. Depending on where it’s from, it can also take on uniquely herbaceous flavors, and sometimes even a hint of minerality.
Pinot grigio has many notable producers in the northern regions of Italy, as well as in wine-making areas of Germany, Australia, and the United States. Like sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio is light in body, but its acidity and fruit notes are toned down a little. Its most prominent fruit flavors include yellow apple, lemon, and other citrus varieties. Pinot grigios also often have a salty element that’s reminiscent of the ocean.
When you need a place to safely store all your bottles of white wine, Collection 55 Cellars in Redwood City, CA has you covered. We offer a variety of locker sizes and rates, plus extra amenities and services for wine-lovers. Call us today at 650.364.9463 for more information.