Because taste cannot occur without smell, the vast majority of wine tasting is related to discerning a wine's "bouquet" or aroma. Smelling a wine poured straight from the bottle may be the quickest method, but it is rather limiting. There are a couple of ways to increase, and even maximize, a wine's bouquet for a better tasting experience by first aerating the wine. To “aerate” means to “introduce air into” something. Aerating wine further releases the aromas of a wine.
An easy way is to allow the wine to sit exposed to air for a few minutes in a wine glass best suited for that varietal. Just before smelling, gently swirl the wine in the glass, then taste.
An even better way to aerate the wine is to pour the wine into a glass decanter before it is served in individual glasses. Decanters are an important part of any wine enthusiast’s glass and barware collection.
While they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, the basic structure of all are designed to accommodate the contents of a full bottle of wine. The function of a decanter is to enlarge the surface area of wine that is exposed to air. This magnifies the amount of wine that is aerated.
While decanting is helpful for red wines, there are wine tools on the market that address the aeration of white wines as well. The most useful aerators are variable, allowing one to adopt it for a wider variety of wines. They are simple to use as they rely up on gravity, angled pouring directly from the bottle, and designs that allows air to mix with the wine as it flows through the tool into a glass.