Definition - What does Breathe mean?

Breathe, alternatively known as aeration, refers to the process of oxidizing wines after they have been taken out of a wine bottle. There are several ways to breathe or aerate a wine, which works to soften the taste of the wine and helps release the true aroma of the wine. Typically, young red wines that have not had enough time to age or to wines with high tannin content are put through a breathing process.

WineFrog explains Breathe

The process of breathing starts as soon as the cork of the wine bottle has been taken off, and the wine is exposed to oxygen. Since the amount of breathing is proportional to the area of the wine exposed to air, it helps to pour the wine into a wide-mouthed glass and swirl it around for about 20-30 minutes (maybe more for wines with higher concentrations of tannin and alcohol).

Popular wines that require breathing include red zinfandel and bordeaux. A wine decanter can also be used for breathing or aeration as it accelerates the chemical reactions taking place in wine. In older wines, breathing usually results in the wines losing their essential taste. Thus, breathing or aeration needs to take place after looking at the type and age of the wine in order to produce a desired taste.

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