Some people think that we should always aerate old wines. Others think that they should not be aerated at all, and only young wines should be aerated. What is the answer?
An old wine is fragile and will prefer not to be rushed. The aeration of an old wine can therefore be dangerous. Nevertheless, and as always it depends on the wine. If it proves to be very tannic, it will appreciate, like a young wine, a controlled aeration. However, few vintages still offer powerful tannins after long years of inactivity.
Old wines should be carefully aerated
If you choose to aerate an old wine that does not necessarily need it, it may lose a lot in the mouth. Indeed, if its tannic structure collapses, it is also its intensity and power that escape. Contact with oxygen may therefore cause them to become unbalanced. So, for these wines, enjoy every sip, but don’t wait too long!
Aerate old wines is therefore recommended if it is particularly powerful and tannic. On the other hand, if it indicates a lighter structure, aeration should be avoided. Feel free to taste it to make your choice.
This advice comes from a sommelier. He told us: “An old wine… it has been waiting to be drunk for a very long time, so when we open it, it gives everything. So, if you have to drink an old wine: drink it quickly, with friends, but not too much to enjoy it. And if unfortunately, it seems to have passed or has a strange taste, keep it open for 24 hours and sometimes a miracle happens!” Otherwise you can always use the Aveine aerator!
Another advice, you can always try to contact the winemaker. It’s not always easy but when you’ll tell him you have one of his bottle that is 20 years old he might be happy to talk a bit with you. Always remember, wine is about sharing and for a winemaker, history is important and many winemakers remember every year of hard working.