Sommelier secrets: Aerate your way to tastier wine

Life is too short to drink bad wine, but with a dismal economy most of us can't afford to drop a lot of money on Chateau Lafite.

Well, I'll let you in on a little secret: You can make bargain wines taste like the more expensive sips with one simple tool -- a wine aerator.

As you may know, wine which has been allowed to breathe tastes better. This is because incorporating air into wine helps it to open up and release its aromas and flavors. In the past, decanters were used to aerate wine. However, decanting can be time consuming, cumbersome and inconvenient. With an aerator you get the most from your wine in the least amount of time.
A good wine aerator will cost about $30 or $40, but can save hundreds of dollars in no time, while making you look like a true wine connoisseur! Many versions of the product are available online, and in kitchen or discount stores. One of the most popular and highest quality products is the Vinturi. Check it out at Amazon.com.

If you're wondering how the heck this wonder-product works, let me give you a quick how-to:

1. Open your wine with a corkscrew let it breathe for a minute while you line up your wine glasses.

2. Hold the wine aerator over the top of the glass with the larger opening facing up. Be careful not to cover the holes on the side of the aerator.

3. Pour your wine carefully into the top of the aerator and let it flow into the wine glass until the glass is filled to the desired volume. If you hear a whirring sound, don't be alarmed -- that's just the aerator doing its job.

After you aerate:

Sample the nose of the wine. You'll notice a better bouquet and will appreciate the full aroma.

Take a sip. Aerated wine tastes richer and more expensive.

Notice the finish. Aeration will soften the rough tannins that can plague bargain and new wines. The result is a more pleasant finish and less bitterness.

So there you have it: a $30 tip that will make help you wow all your friends the next time you whip out the wine!

Jennifer Horn is a co-host on the nationally syndicated Good Day radio program heard on more than 300 stations across the country in morning drive. An accomplished sommelier, Jennifer also co-authors a weekly Food & Wine Newsletter and is a contributor on the nationally syndicated What's Cookin' Show on CRN Digital Talk Radio. Follow Jen on Twitter here.

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