Since hearing about the Vin-Aire, I have been curious to try it and see if it lives up to its own hype. However, the hefty €35 price tag convinced me that decanting and swirling was the way forward. After all, any time I’m in a wine shop and have a spare €35 in my wallet, I tend to buy wine, not wine accessories. But with the 10th Birthday of Corkscrew on Chatham St, they had a terrific promotion- Vin-Aire for €10. I couldn’t resist, so picked one up two weeks ago and have tested it three times. These are my opinions so far.
Being very impatient, I tried it that night on a relatively young Bordeaux I had previously purchased in Corkscrew, Chateau Haut Peyruguet, 2010. My girlfriend poured two glasses- one straight from the bottle, the other through the Vin-Aire- and I tasted them blind. Much to my own surprise I was able to taste the difference straight away. The Vin-Aire had softened the tannins in the wine and brought more of the fruit to the fore. In a few seconds it had achieved what a decanter would take an hour to do. However, the other glass was still delicious, and by the second glasses poured, the wine had opened up enough that there was little noticeable difference.
The second wine I tested the Vin-Aire on was a 2013 Portugese white- Quinta da Lixa Vinho Verde from O’Brien’s. I didn’t really expect it to have much effect on a fruity, balanced, food-friendly white (to be honest it was an excuse to have a bottle of wine on a Tuesday!). As expected, there was little difference between the bottle-poured glass and that poured through the Vin-Aire. Although I guessed which wine was which, I have to admit it was pretty much a coin toss.
Finally, on Saturday, I tested the Vin-Aire on a very different wine- Senorio de los Llanos Gran Reserva 2004 from Valdepenas. I found two bottles of this down the back of my cupboard and tried one about a month ago. It was an over-oaked, tannic monster, without much structure or balance. Although drinkable, a glass or two ended up down the sink. I decided the other bottle could be used as a tough test for the Vin-Aire. Rewardingly, the Vin-Aire made the wine drinkable. Not great, but certainly better than the original bottle. Instead of the harsh oak and tannins, there were hints of fruit. Very little of this bottle went to waste.
In conclusion, the Vin-Aire certainly has its place. At €35 I would hesitate to recommend one, but I just had a look at Corkscrew’s website and they still seem to have some left at €10, which is a bargain. From my home tests, good wines will be good no matter what you do. Allowing the bottle to breathe for a while will impart the same benefits as the Vin-Aire. However, a tough, disappointing bottle can be transformed in to something more interesting with a quick pour through this handy device. I didn’t mistake my Valdepenas for a top Rioja Alta by any means, but neither did I end up pouring it down the sink.