Sunday, April 27, 2008

Decanting Wine (or Aeration vs. Oxidation)

A quiet spring Sunday at BlueStem Winery. April is always a quiet month as people start to get yard work done after a long winter. We received a large shipment of Cellar Craft wine kits last week and we have more Cellar Craft ingredient kits coming in on Tuesday. Our new supply of WinExpert kits along with a resupply of wine making supplies, homebrew equipment and home brewing ingredients will arrive tomorrow.

Yesterday's blog visited the importance of using a good cork when making wine. Today we are going to talk about removing the cork and enjoying the wine.

So, you have made 30 bottles of either WinExpert or Cellar Craft wine from a kit and you bottled it and you have waited the appropriate time and it is now ready to enjoy. I don't like to generalize but my rule of thumb on white wines made from either WinExpert or Cellar Craft kits is that you should wait a minimum of six months after bottling to enjoy the first bottle and a year is better. On red wines made from either Cellar Craft or WinExpert wine kits you should generally wait a minimum of a year and two is better.

But, as I said, you have waited the appropriate amount of time and it is time to enjoy. You have been told that oxygen is the enemy of wine and during the wine making you diligently tried to isolate your wine from oxygen as much as possible. Now it is time to drink your first bottle and I am going to tell you that prior to drinking your wine you should mix oxygen with it.

Yesterday we talked about corks and how a poor cork could lead to the oxidizing of your wine. There is a difference between oxygenation and aeration. Oxidized wine is wine which has been allowed to come in contact with oxygen during its storage life. Oxygen has attacked the wine and ruined its flavor and this wine can no longer be enjoyed.

Aeration is the mixing of oxygen with wine just prior to enjoyment. Wines which have been in storage will develop a smell which does not mean spoilage, it just means that we are unaccustomed to this aroma because we are used to smelling food which has been in contact with air, not isolated from it. Wines which have been in long-term storage may have chunks of sediment in them and will also have this slightly foul aroma. Use a special wine funnel which has a screen in it to do two things. Filter out the chunks and mix oxygen with your wine. This aeration will, in a few minutes, remove the unpleasant aroma. Will it damage your wine? No! Oxidation takes a little time, maybe hours and maybe a day. Open your wine, aerate it and enjoy!

As always, BlueStem Winery not only carries the winemaking supplies you need for your home wine making hobby but we also carry a complete line of home brew supplies for our home brewers. Our website is open all day every day or if in the area please feel free to drop in even if just to say hello!

1 comment:

Miss Mae said...

Interesting blog! How cool to learn all this neat stuff about wine. This could be useful some day and if I have questions, I hope I can ask you...:)

Miss Mae