aerated wine in a decanter

What does aerated mean in wine?

Aeration exposes wine to air, often described as “letting the wine breathe.” It involves opening and decanting the wine before serving to enhance its flavors and aromas. Opening a bottle of wine and letting it sit does little to aerate the wine, as the surface area exposed to air is minimal. To effectively aerate wine, it should be poured into a decanter or an aerator, allowing a greater surface area of the wine to interact with air. This interaction helps soften tannins—the compounds responsible for the wine’s astringency—and can enhance the overall sensory experience of the wine. Generally, red wines, particularly those young and tannic, benefit the most from aeration, as it helps mellow the tannins and release the wine’s full bouquet.