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When and how much do you let a wine breathe?

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When and how much do you let a wine breathe?

Scargod | May 15, 2008 08:27 AM

I have a decanter/aerator: large, mushroom-shaped. I typically buy $10-30 wines with $16 being about average.
How do you know whether it is important to decant and aerate? If you have a young, green wine with a lot of tannins, will it ever get significantly better with lots of aeration and/or hours of waiting versus, say, 15-30 minutes or a lot of swishing in the glass?
I read where a mature wine might suffer from any oxygenating. Most I buy are less than 8 years old...
Is there any rule of thumb? Do you try it every 15 minutes to see if it is "opening up? Do you give up after an hour and just drink it or cook with it?

What is too much breathing? I watch wine experts swirling and swirling prior to drinking-but they are usually pouring straight from the bottle. Can you tell when it has "opened up" on smell alone?
I've seen great improvements with time and aeration but I confess, I don't know when to stop...

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