Gadgets: White Wine Aerator by Vinturi


[Photograph: Field PR]

A few months back, we took a look at the Vinturi and found that, across the board, Serious Eaters like the funny-sounding aerator as much as I did. So naturally, when I saw a white wine counterpart to the Vinturi on the market, I brought it back home for an equally extensive round of testing.

Some (but not all) white wines benefit from aeration. Oakier wines we tested seemed to open up to reveal brighter profiles, and highly acidic wines mellowed a bit into gentler, rounder flavors. One nice thing about the Vinturi is that you can test a sip or two and decide whether you prefer the wine aerated or not; that's harder to do with a traditional decanter.

But do you really need a dedicated white wine aerator if you have the red wine version? As it turns out, the aerating mechanisms are slightly different on each model—visibly so, upon close enough inspection—though representatives from Vinturi were unable to explain what that difference was, exactly. The information is apparently a closely guarded secret that has to do with flow rate calibration, which Vinturi says was decided based on extensive taste tests. A well-researched guess would indicate that the white wine aerator allows slightly less air into the wine, though I suppose what matters most is not how the gadget functions but how well it functions.

While testing, we tried a few tricks. What happens when red wine is poured through the white aerator? White through the red aerator? Pouring a bit of the same wine through each aerator yielded ever-so-slightly different results on a few samples, but our tests suggested that the difference is too minute to be detected by most palates.

The ultimate verdict: while the White Wine Vinturi works as well as its red friend, the result may be too similar to warrant having both. My suggestion, after a few months of experience with this gadget: pick the version you'll use more often, and feel free to use it for both colors of wine. Should you want to expand your aerating collection, go for the picnic-friendly travel Vinturi instead—once the weather warms, it packs up into a tiny case that'll fit in your pocket and unfold into a stand for better outdoor sipping.

Vinturi provided this product as a press sample. Though they supplied the gadget, this review is based only on first-hand experience.