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What Is a Wine Diffuser?

Gale WrightFeb, 2011

Overview

Wine diffusers aerate wine. Traditionally, decanters were used to aerate wine, but decanting wine can be messy, difficult and time-consuming. Red wines, particularly younger reds, improve in flavor if aerated. While red wines benefit the most from a diffuser, use a diffuser designed for lighter wines when pouring white or rose wines.

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History

Wine diffusers are a modern alternative to the classic decanter. Decanters served a dual purpose. Transferring an aged red wine from the bottle to a decanter removed sediment that collected in the bottom of the bottle, giving the wine a cleaner and smoother flavor. Younger reds benefited from decanting to allow the wine to breathe, softening the flavors and reducing the harshness of the tannins, according to FoodReference.com.

Function

Wine diffusers, like RedEnvelope's Vinturi Wine Aerator, create the perfect blend of wine and oxygen to help flavors bloom and mature in the glass. There's no need to decant wines to allow them to breathe when you have a diffuser, and careful pouring can eliminate sediment in older wines. Diffusers are available in both red and white wine versions, to ensure a perfect glass with every pour.

Using a Diffuser

Wine diffusers are easy to use, even for a novice. Set the wine glass on a sturdy, flat surface, like a bar, table or counter top. Place the diffuser onto the wine glass and pour the wine into the diffuser. If you are working with a wine with some sediment, pour slowly with a light beneath the bottle to reduce sediment in the glass. The wine will drip through the diffuser and into the wine glass slowly to allow the wine the appropriate level of oxygen exposure.

Types

Some wines benefit more from aeration than others. If you favor dry, robust wines like Bordeaux, Malbec, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, a diffuser can be a valuable investment. Bold white wines, like a white Bordeaux or Burgundy, may also bloom with aeration, according to FoodReference.com. Younger wines can mature with aeration, but less expensive wines, with the exception of Malbec, rarely require a diffuser.

Considerations

If you will be pouring into a set of multiple glasses, prepare a surface on which to place the diffuser between pours. Some wine aerators come with a storage stand, while others fit into the open bottle to keep them from dripping onto your counter or bar. If your diffuser has neither, place a folded cloth napkin or an empty wine glass on the table to avoid a mess.

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