If you had been cooped up in a bottle for a year or more, you’d probably want to stretch your legs wouldn’t you. Imagine getting out of that bottle, and stretching, and then filling your lungs with air. Well that’s not exactly what happens with wine, but it gives you an idea. You see what happens in the bottle is that the wine matures – this is the process of some of the compounds in the wine changing chemical structure.
But, because there is almost no oxygen in the bottle, the wine can’t fully develop. That’s where breating or aeration comes in.
If you’ve ever seen a sliced apple go brown, you know what oxidation – the brown colour is caused by oxidation.
While you might not want it in apples, it is a necessary part of the process in a good wine.
Letting the wine breathe will improve both the flavour (what you taste) and the aroma (what you smell).
Not all wine needs to breathe. Most white wines don’t, and cheap or very fruity reds don’t need to either.
Fortunately, in our tasting notes we tell you whether you should let your wine breathe and for how long.