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The Menu Wine Breather aerator/decanter has been around for a while and friends of mine own one. We have reviewed many aerators at Texas Wine Lover including the Aervana Electric wine aerator, TRIbella wine aerator, Optiwine Decanter, and more that have been tried at home. I visited William Chris Vineyards recently and saw they were selling the Menu Wine Breather. I was told they were just starting to use them to see if they would be worth selling, and I mentioned how we had done reviews in the past of aerators. I was given one and said to let them know what I thought.
Upon opening the box, it contains a small booklet with instructions in different languages, an even smaller booklet on Menu who makes the aerator, the decanter, and the rubber stopper aerator that sits on top of the decanter. Even though I had seen others use the decanter, I read the instructions to ensure I knew everything I needed to know.
After cleaning the decanter and the aerator, I started the testing. First, I had to choose a bottle of wine to use and it was only fitting that it was a William Chris Enchanté 2015. I first poured a little wine directly from the bottle to see what it tasted like before any testing. The next test was trying a few of my aerators. I knew the Menu Wine Breather decanted a whole bottle of wine, so I kept my testing pours small.
Before the aerator test, I could tell the wine needed aerating or decanting. The next thing was to determine which aerator worked the best. I purposely used all aerators that fit into the neck of a bottle so they would not affect the rest of the wine. I used a Menagerie shark aerator (coincidentally sold at William Chris too), the TRIbella wine aerator, and the VinOair wine aerator. One made the wine too smooth taking away a lot of the body and tannins, and almost making it taste like grape juice. The others worked well rounding out the mouthfeel and giving the finish a softness and elegance.
Now it was time for the Menu Wine Breather. I took the rest of the bottle and following the instructions, aerated the rest of the bottle. The first step is to put the decanter on top of the bottle and simply turn it upside down. After the wine pours into the decanter, flip it around one more time (if desired) for a second aeration, and the final wine pours back into the bottle. The whole process takes approximately two minutes. The resulting wine was as good as the best aerator I had tried, if not better.
Leaving the aerated wine in the bottle makes it great to pour from because you still have the labels on the bottle, plus you can use the Menu Wine Breather to aerate other wines at the same time you are enjoying the first one. If you want to keep the wine in the decanter for a little show perhaps, the decanter makes a fine pouring vessel. Especially nice is when you are done using the Menu Wine Breather, the glass decanter is really easy to clean including being dishwasher proof (without the rubber aerator). The rubber stopper that aerates comes with a nice silver cover to let you keep the decanter and aerator out in the open and keep the inside of the decanter clean.
With all the aerators I have used, will I continue to use the Menu Wine Breather? I would have to say definitely yes, if the wine needs aerating. Taste the wine first because it may not need aerating. If you believe it could be smoother and softer, then by all means, use the Menu Wine Breather or another aerator to make your wine taste like you enjoy.