Breathe? Or Not

Etiquette Wine 101

May 2, 2021

Where is the decanter? A friend unintentionally questioned me at a reunion. Breathing, or aeration, is the chemical reaction between the wine and oxygen which intends to fully express the aroma and character of the wine. As a rule of thumb, a young bottle is more suitable for breathing than an old vintage that can risk turning into vinegar. In fact, what underpins the aeration is tannin. Consequently, whites and champagnes, in the absence of it, rarely require breathing. Quickly bottoms-up the bubbles, my friend!