Is giving wine air a myth?

"Susan Rodriguez, a research fellow at Cal State Fresno, recently did a blind tasting experiment and discovered that her panel could not tell the difference between a wine that had been decanted for two hours and the same wine right out of the bottle.

"The people who set it up were flabbergasted," Rodriguez says. "They were sure they could taste a difference."

I tend to agree
Original Post
The descriptions are too vague in the article to conclude anything.

Most wines will not improve with air, but most wines are also not meant to.

Northern Rhone reds in particular for me change quite a bit with air. Recently had the 2007 JL Chave St. Joseph. When I first tasted, it was rather ordinary and I didn't really detect much Northern Rhone character. Just seemed like a typical nice, but forgettable Syrah. After about 2 hours, it really opened up into something very nice.

So I disagree with the article.
The extent, nature and timing of change really depends upon the wine and vintage. I have seen massive changes occur in wines during bottle airing, decant and in glass, often for the better but sometimes for the worse. Changes in character. Changes by the 1/2 hour. And sometimes no change at all. The study is absolutely full of s.., for the reasons that so many other studies are equally bs.
quote:
Originally posted by Bordeaux4Wino:
This is anecdotal though at best.
Who was the panel? What kind of wine? Etc.
This study isn't going to influence me to toss out my decanters!....Now, one of those gadget aerators, well....


I broadly agree on the gadget aerators. I did some blind testing and noticed no difference. Probably because one pour through an aerator cannot do what 1 to 4 hours in a wide bottomed decanter will. I have a shelf full of worthless aerators,purchased before I knew better.
quote:
Originally posted by Danyull:
The descriptions are too vague in the article to conclude anything.

Most wines will not improve with air, but most wines are also not meant to.

Northern Rhone reds in particular for me change quite a bit with air. Recently had the 2007 JL Chave St. Joseph. When I first tasted, it was rather ordinary and I didn't really detect much Northern Rhone character. Just seemed like a typical nice, but forgettable Syrah. After about 2 hours, it really opened up into something very nice.

So I disagree with the article.


i humbly disagree. I think all wines benefit from some air, even humble whites. Not saying that it is necessary to decant a simple white but I feel like even simple wines will evolve with a little exposure to air. Often
i have noticed nuances of lower end wines after some time in the glass.
One of the main things that happens is that the sulfur compounds become less noticeable - the "bottle funk" goes away. That can also happen, and in fact does happen, with very young wines that have recently been bottled too. Sometimes they're just too young and when you open them you can tell they've just been sulfured so a decant and in fact, a really vigorous shaking, can help them.

And sometimes no amount of shaking, no matter how violent, seems to work. I've suffered thru a few of those too. Just bad wine making I think.

As far as the panel goes - it's like so many of them. Being able to distinguish one from the other requires fairly close and analytical attention to the wine and most people don't taste like that, whether it be wine or anything else. Focus group tests and tasting panels combined with marketing geniuses have given us wonders like Pringles and McRibs.

The main thing to do with results like those in the article is pretty much to ignore them. Most people can't tell the dif? OK. "Most" people apparently prefer Yellow Tail and Two Buck Chuck to decent wine, otherwise how could they be selling millions of cases a year?
I disagree with the panel.

Most red wines, and many white wines, improve with air-time in a decanter. I have absolute faith in this statement.

I have been a skeptic in the past myself, and one of my early wine "mentors", whose opinion I deeply respect, had claimed that "letting the wine breathe" was a bunch of baloney. In this case, I have become thoroughly convinced that he was wrong, and I have changed my tune.

Wine DEFINITELY can change in a decanter. Not that it always does, but I've never had a wine that was harmed by at least 30 minutes of air time.
quote:
Originally posted by GregT:
One of the main things that happens is that the sulfur compounds become less noticeable - the "bottle funk" goes away. That can also happen, and in fact does happen, with very young wines that have recently been bottled too. Sometimes they're just too young and when you open them you can tell they've just been sulfured so a decant and in fact, a really vigorous shaking, can help them.

And sometimes no amount of shaking, no matter how violent, seems to work. I've suffered thru a few of those too. Just bad wine making I think.

As far as the panel goes - it's like so many of them. Being able to distinguish one from the other requires fairly close and analytical attention to the wine and most people don't taste like that, whether it be wine or anything else. Focus group tests and tasting panels combined with marketing geniuses have given us wonders like Pringles and McRibs.

The main thing to do with results like those in the article is pretty much to ignore them. Most people can't tell the dif? OK. "Most" people apparently prefer Yellow Tail and Two Buck Chuck to decent wine, otherwise how could they be selling millions of cases a year?


I will say that I love the mcrib =)
quote:
Originally posted by jorgerunfrombulls:
it's not. the "panel" was BS.

I've conducted this same experiment at home several time with friends who couldn't care less about wine, and it's patently obvious when a wine has been dumped into a decanter vs aerated vs poured directly from the bottle.


Ditto on having tried this at home.

Single blind, very reproduceable.

Never struck me as potentially controversial.
Probably. The question is how much air? I find a few minutes in the glass and anything more doesn't make a bit of difference.

quote:
Originally posted by Randy Sloan:
The entire article is about wine needing air and there is (at the end) a brief mention of the contrary findings by the Fresno taste panel.

It's not a myth. Many (or even most) wines benefit from at least a bit of air.
quote:
Originally posted by StanS:
Probably. The question is how much air? I find a few minutes in the glass and anything more doesn't make a bit of difference.

quote:
Originally posted by Randy Sloan:
The entire article is about wine needing air and there is (at the end) a brief mention of the contrary findings by the Fresno taste panel.

It's not a myth. Many (or even most) wines benefit from at least a bit of air.


I would say that there is great variability.

Sometimes, a couple hours later, a wine can become transcendant! Or, the opposite!

It's a dangerous game we play, eh?

Not only do we need to know the best year to open a wine, we also have to worry about the optimum moment to drink it!
quote:
Originally posted by StanS:
Probably. The question is how much air? I find a few minutes in the glass and anything more doesn't make a bit of difference.

quote:
Originally posted by Randy Sloan:
The entire article is about wine needing air and there is (at the end) a brief mention of the contrary findings by the Fresno taste panel.

It's not a myth. Many (or even most) wines benefit from at least a bit of air.


I think that you are wrong. I think that a good deal of air can make a huge difference. For younger wines they open up, for very old wines they may fall apart with time. I've seen even very humble wines transform with air into something much nicer, and many, many, many times I have drank a wine for a couple of hours finding it to be decent, only to come back to a glass several hours later and realize the potential in the wine, and then to kick myself for lack of patience. I'm not saying that some amount of air will reproduce proper aging or can always coax a slumbering wine, but often air makes a tremendous difference.
quote:
Originally posted by EB Wine:
quote:
I will say that I love the mcrib =)


I do not recommend decanting your McRibs...they only get worse when exposed to air.


With the amount of preservatives in them, time or air or any nuclear radiation does nothing to them.
not sure why I was thinking of this post this weekend. But if air/wine interaction is a myth, you could open a bottle and drink it a day, week, or year later and it would taste the same as when it was just opened.

So unless you've got a lot of gnomes in your house peeing in your open bottles, I'd like to hear an alternative hypothesis to air interaction altering wines flavor after opening.
An ever ongoing debate.

My approach:

Uncork a bottle of something nice.

Glance over your collection of decanters and choose one worthy of that wine.

Carefully decant.

Lean back in your armchair and let Emile Peynaud´s "The Taste Of Wine" lecture you on the harmful effect of air.

An evening well spent.

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