Wines have been present from way back the history of man. It has then been part of many ceremonies such as weddings, after parties and even formal business meetings or a simple night out. Surprisingly, there are still some small facts about wines that many people don’t know and do before considering drinking any wine products.
One of the most interesting and often ignored processes is letting the wine ‘breathe.’ Wine breathing is done by letting the wine sit for a while after pouring it from the bottle to glass and before drinking it.
Interesting enough this simple process of wine breathing has proven some identifiable benefits which we enumerated below:
- Decreases the amount of ethanol
Exposing wines (red wines specifically) to air for seconds after pouring it to a glass surprisingly makes the wine taste better. By letting it breathe, we allow air to change its chemistry slightly. During the short period, ethanol content on the wine gradually evaporates.
Ethanol is harmful and highly flammable and is a type of alcohol that people drink. It is produced by fermentation of yeast, starches, and fruits such as grapes and some grains. Though people can consume ethanol, excess ethanol content on some beverages like wines and other types of liquors can be addictive and extremely harmful.
- Removes the strong initial odor
Sulfite is a chemical that helps in preserving wines. When exposed, wine releases sulfite into the air together with its strong odor. This makes you able to smell your wine better; how a wine smell impacts its taste. So you might want to leave your glass for a briefing.
We all heard about wines that are labeled as ‘sulfite free,’ but there is no such thing as 100% sulfite free wine. Sulfite is necessary for preserving the quality of the wine and keeping it away from fungus. What these ‘sulfite free’ really means is there is not added sulfite in the wine than the amount needed for it to be preserved.
Our bodies are capable of taking sulfite but some of us may not. People who are suffering from asthma are said to have adverse reactions towards sulfite such as headaches, itching, sneezing, coughing, swelling, and few other allergic reactions
It is also advisable for people who have gastrointestinal problems to let their wines breathe briefly than immediately consuming it to make the decrease the sulfite that may cause harmful side effects.
- Highlights the arom
Most red wines, in particular, benefit the most from air exposure before drinking. The higher tannin levels, the more the wine needs time to aerate (air exposure). Afterward, you will enjoy its aroma and softer flavor with its best state.
Red wines are known to have higher tannin levels such as Nebbiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Monastrell. While some red wines also have low tannin levels and to name a few: Barbera, Gamay, Grenache, and Pinot Noir. As a consumer, it is essential for you to check your wine’s tannin level. After knowing it, enjoy its mouthful aroma and softer flavor with its best state while letting it breathe for a moment.
- It makes the wine taste better
The shape of the wine glass is wide for the drinker to swirl the wine and let it breathe freely. Some red wines will taste better if you will drink it using a wider glass. This means more exposure to air, the better. This is because of phenolics; stuff that is responsible for the reddish color of the wine. The properties of phenolics slowly break down when exposed to air. This stuff is also responsible for the drying sensation in your mouth that you feel after drinking red wine. Exposing it to air for a few seconds lessens the intense feeling and enhances the taste and aroma that you get from drinking wine. That is why wines like Haut-Brion, Malbecs, and others benefit from breathing.
Letting the wine breathe still depends on the type of wine. Wines may have almost the same content, but the concentration of its properties varies. Most red wines will no doubt benefit from ‘breathing.’ However, wines with low tannin levels will not and can result in ruining the wine, mainly white wines. The same thing also happens to old and young wines. Old wines will not taste better when exposed to air for an extended period, while young wines can withstand and rock the aeration.
Wines, with no doubt, surely have tricky techniques for you to bring the best foot forward in wines. Of course, knowing and verifying things about your favorite wines will help a lot in doing this. With these tips and trivia, we hope that you will surely enjoy your next bottle of wine.
As always, we all have our preferences, let it breathe briefly or drink it immediately, you be your judge.