"Have a little faith in me…"

by Katie Pizzuto on December 2, 2009

in Aerators

When you’re forced into capitulating to blind faith in the absence of any logical, scientific proof for what you would swear on your tits is true, there is a second struggle—admitting that blind faith to others. It’s not easy to say, “Don’t ask me why, it just is what it is” when you’re supposed to maintain some sort of journalistic integrity, or at the very least offer up something more than the equivalent of a 3 year old telling you it’s magic. I don’t have blind faith—never did. So when I find myself in a position of not only believing in something I can’t prove, but of having to convince someone else of it, I panic. If it looks like horseshit and smells like horseshit, well, it usually is. Or, at the very least, you perceive it to be. That’s my caveat out of this…perception.

Wine aerators are a funny business. Most wine geeks know which wines need decanting and which don’t, so if they pull something to drink that they know needs to do a bit of a tango with oxygen, they open it ahead of time, decant it, and wait. But sometimes you pop a bottle last minute, taste it, and realize it really needs time to open up—time you don’t have because dinner is served and getting cold. Well, either that or you’re just an impatient sot who knows a wine needs time to decant but you want to experience it, in all it’s defrocked glory…now. Hell, I’ve worked at wine tastings where we were pouring a Bordeaux that needed at least an hour to open up (an hour we didn’t have to spare), so we would pour the wine back and forth between two water pitchers, frothing the ever-loving shit out of it, so it would be ready for those thirsty dweebs who refused to taste the wines in any sort of logical order and instead went straight for the Bordeaux at the end of the line.

So I went on a hunt, in search of aerators that claimed to do everything from miraculously “opening up” a wine in a matter of seconds rather than hours, to making Yellow Tail taste like Petrus. I also got samples of 2 wine glasses that are in direct competition with these contraptions. The final list of lab rats…err, I mean experiment samples…included:

Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator – They have two, one for white and one for red. Apparently the difference is that the white aerator has “different internal dimensions and flow rate”. I’m assuming the flow rate is slower given that white wines are more delicate and fragile than reds, but we all know what assuming does. It’s the biggest pain in the ass of all the aerators because you have to hold it over the glass with one hand while pouring into it with the other (all the other aerators attached to the open bottle). You can tackle this problem by purchasing the tower, but that will run you an additional $39.95. The package includes a small stand for the aerator and a travel pouch. SRP: $39.95

Soirée Wine Decanter – Unlike Vinturi, this one fits into the neck of an open bottle, which helps if you’re ambidextrously challenged. Also unlike Vinturi, which creates a vacuum that draws in air, Soirée simply gives the wine a dimpled area to bump and spin like a 70s disco queen before hitting your glass. The package includes an extra gasket. SRP: $25.00

Rabbit Aerating Pourer – This is made by Metrokane, who also makes the famous Rabbit corkscrew. Like Soirée, it fits into the neck of your open bottle so you can pour through it easily. Unfortunately, they didn’t offer much in the way of information for this puppy…I mean rabbit. The wine cascades down the sides of the pourer and into your glass. Not exactly rocket science. SRP: $30.00

Vino2 – This wine glass is made by Taste of Purple, and has a large indentation on the side of the bowl. That dimple acts like an “agitating obstruction” to the wine as you swirl it, essentially bruising the wine thus aerating it. The bowl is generously large, giving you plenty of breathing room, so to speak.  SRP: $40.00

Eisch’s Breathable Glass – Put simply, it’s a wine glass. No bumps, dimples, vacuums, bells or whistles. What it claims, however, is that after being manufactured, the glass undergoes an “oxygenizing treatment” which somehow aerates the wine as it sits in the glass. A wine poured into a Breathable Glass is supposed to show signs of aeration (after 2 to 4 minutes) equivalent to the same wine that has been decanted and aerated for 1 to 2 hours. SRP: $34.99

To test the products, I chose a bottle of Viña La Rosa “La Capitana” 2006 Carmenere. I don’t think I’ve ever come across a carmenere that didn’t benefit from a bit of decanting, so I thought it to be a good choice. I was right—that thing was tighter than an alter boy’s ass. I tackled each one separately, pouring some wine directly from the bottle into a glass first, and then some through the aerator into another glass. While I tasted, the bottle was recorked (not that a whole lot of breathing would go on through the slender neck of a bottle, but one can’t be too scientific about all this crap). As far as the two glasses go, for the Eisch I poured some wine in it and some in a regular wine glass and let both sit for 2 minutes before tasting and comparing. For the Vino2 I poured out the same way but this time gave the wine a few really good swirls in order to “bruise” it and compared that to wine swirled in a regular wine glass.

Here’s the thing…of all the products, I thought Eisch’s whole “oxygenizing treatment” was the aforementioned load of horseshit. The only way I figured a glass could be breathable was to not be solid (duh) in which case you’d have a leaky glass, wouldn’t you? I thought I was dealing with a snake oil sales pitch—but the damned thing works. Don’t ask me how or why because I’ve decided it’s a simple case of blind faith. I was dying to debunk this, I really was. I wanted to strip these guys naked, tie them to a whipping post and call the lynching mob in, but I couldn’t because somehow, someway, the wine really opened up in this thing. Of all the products tested, it made the most marked difference in both aroma and taste. The wine was brighter, fruitier and pepperier.

That being said, though, the Vino2 is my favorite as long as the wine doesn’t require serious decanting. I loved swirling the wine in the large bowl, watching it lash back and forth against the dent, and the aromas were INCREDIBLE when I got my nose even near the glass. Of the aerators, the Vinturi (which was the most awkward to use) seemed to do the most. The wine was a bit more aromatic and flavorful than the control pour, perhaps because the vacuum creates a sort of “gurgle” and gets more oxygen through it. The other two made the wine a little more aromatic, but I can’t honestly say that I noticed a big change in taste. Given that there wasn’t a huge price range here, Eisch’s glass is easily the best value, followed closely by the other glass. But they don’t exactly make for travel pieces so if you really want an aerator you can take anywhere, go with the Vinturi.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 castello December 2, 2009

Alright! I’ve played with the Soriee and I have the Vinturi and they are kind of fun and do seem to sort of work. The Vinturi is like a drunk test to do with a glass or decanter. Spillage will happen. It does travel well and does seem to help. I can’t wait to try the fancy glasses.

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2 Heather December 2, 2009

I think I am digging on that vinturi… I’d like to get one for my mom this year for xmas, and then laugh at her when she pours into it and it makes that goofy gurgle. Oh yea me and my brother will have some childish fun with this!

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3 Mark December 3, 2009

Prior to reading your post Katie, I would have also said that these contraptions are nothing more than a bunch horseshit and continued to be a non-believer. C’mon – a “breathable” glass?! Now, I just want to conduct my own little lab experiment with these products. Heck, I might just throw in the two water pitcher method to see which one I like best!

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4 castello December 3, 2009

A couple decades ago I tried putting a tight wine in my blender. Wine abuse you say? I’ll call it macro-oxygenating. Well it seemed to work just fine. I’ll have to try it again now in the new century. Look out, this could get messy.

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5 Katie Pizzuto December 3, 2009

LMAO, gotta remember that one, Ed!

You gotta try for yourself, Mark…it’s fun!

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6 John December 8, 2009

Fantastic article! I had no idea aerators existed.

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7 Coupe 60 December 11, 2009

That was a great read Katie…The Vinaturi is already on my Christmas list, and now I might just have to add the Eisch glasses…Only thing is Wine glasses don’t seem to have a long shelf life in my house, and I’m afraid that they will break…

Why don’t you show up on the WLTV boards more often so that I will remember to pop over here…

your long lost buddy Coupe…

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8 Katie Pizzuto December 11, 2009

You’re right, Lou, which is why I headed over today. Got Twitter on the brain and forgot to stop in at the boards more often. But then again, you shouldn’t need a reminder 😉

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9 Katie Pizzuto December 11, 2009

And by the way, glasses NEVER last in my house. I handle these two glasses myself, and put them away in their box after each use.

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10 Coupe 60 December 11, 2009

I actually thought you came over to comment on the greatest TV show of all time now appearing on MTV…That’s the Jersey Shore for those of oyu that have not seen it…

I now know why people slow down to look at accidents…I long for the return of shows that portray Italians from NJ in a more positive light ….

…like the Sopranos…

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11 Katie Pizzuto December 11, 2009

Saw one episode with the hubster….couldn’t avert the eyes, but man am I embarrased. People already think the worst of Jersey. Now they think worse than the worst 🙂

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