Getting a Little Air

Wine aerators: controversial contraption or essential gift-giving?

Whenever I go home to New York I get to watch my father proudly break out his Vinturi wine aerator—my gift to him after first encountering so-called “active aerators.” At the table he’ll solemnly do his aeration ritual, pouring the wine through the acrylic funnel directly into my glass. He is one of the many who believes in the Vinturi’s power to introduce air into the wine thus opening it up and bringing forth the best character, bouquet and taste, a feat that is traditionally accomplished passively, only with time.

Issa Khoury of Khoury’s Fine Wine & Spirits (9915 S. Eastern Ave., 435-9463) sells the Vinturi ($40) as well as the VinOair ($19), and blows through them during gift-giving season. “Generally, everyone’s pretty impressed with them,” he reports. (Devotees of the classic decanter do not despair—Khoury’s has those, too.)

The convenience of active wine aeration is also big business. Online, I found the Soiree ($25,, which attaches to the wine bottle, and the Wine Weaver, which sits atop the glass and neatly delivers wine to the “sweet spot” where the glass curves ($20, But wait, there’s more: the Metrokane Rabbit, the Centellino Areadivino, the Respirer, the Wisp …

However, I like the Vinturi. It feels solid in my hand, and while it’ll never slap enough polish on a $15 cab to mistake her for a Romaneé-Conti, I can aerate one glass, reseal the bottle with a pump and save the rest. For me, it’s truly a matter of convenience and time. But remember, as it is an aerator’s duty to loosen up harsh tannins, don’t expect much of a change to a softly tannic wine. Khoury’s advice: “Take a sip and if it makes your whole mouth pucker, run it through an aerator. If not, then why mess with it?”

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