Aveine Aerator

Review: Aveine Smart Aerator and a 2014 Napa Cab

Aveine Smart Aerator $449
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We tested the Aveine on a 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon from Dunn Vineyards in Napa Valley, CA (retail $125), well known for its firm, high tannins, and full body.

Last year we reviewed the Aveine Smart Aerator by testing it with a bottle of young 2018 Croma Vera Cabernet Sauvignon.

The value proposition of the Aveine is that it uses micro-oxygenation to aerate wine within seconds that would otherwise take hours in a traditional decanter. You place the Aveine over the neck of the wine bottle. As you pour the wine, the Aveine adds ambient air directly to the flow of wine. You can set the Aveine aeration level from 1 hours to 24 hours using a touch interface on the Aveine.

I’ll admit, we were initially skeptical about the Aveine, but over time, we’ve found it to be our favorite aerator. Since we are notoriously bad about planning far enough ahead to aerate a bottle for the 1-6 hours a quality bottle requires, the Aveine can be a valuable device when used properly.

An image of wine glasses, worksheets, and a bottle of wine next to the Aveine Smart Aerator

We tested the Aveine on a 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon from Dunn Vineyards in Napa Valley, CA (retail $125), well known for its firm, high tannins, and full body.

We also enlisted three colleagues to taste with us: Keith Abney, Amy Hart, and Steve Lloyd-Moffett, all long-time blind tasters.

No Aeration vs. Aveine @ 1-hour and 3-hour Aeration Settings

First, we opened and immediately poured 2-ounce pours of the Dunn Vineyards Cab with no aeration. Then we set the Aveine at the 1-hour aeration setting and poured another round of 2-ounce pours. Finally, we set the Aveine at the 3-hour setting and poured another round of 2-ounce pours. We tasted these three glasses side-by-side. Detailed notes for all tastings appear below this article.

We hypothesized that the Aveine with a 1-hour setting would improve the non-aerated wine slightly, and the 3-hour setting would improve the wine more.

Our Aveine Smart Aerator tasting panel. Image shows a table with wine glasses, a bottle of wine, the Aveine Aerator, two men and two women.

Aveine 1-Hour Aeration Setting

Compared to the non-aerated Cab, we found that the Aveine 1-hour aeration setting decreased the quality of the wine for all but one of our tasters.

The intensity of the wine on the nose decreased from pronounced to medium(+). We also detected noticeably less of the green bell pepper often associated with Cab, but more cedar, typically associated with oak barrel aging. On the palate, the tannin decreased from high to medium(+), but in a non-pleasing way. We also found that flavor intensity decreased from medium(+) to medium.

We had previously rated the non-aerated Cab as “Very Good”. The result of these changes with the 1-hour aeration setting decreased the quality to “Good” due to the loss of intensity. This was quite surprising since typically any aeration tends to improve the quality of a high tannin, full-bodied wine.

Aveine 3-Hour Aeration Setting

The Aveine 3-hour aeration setting had an obvious and positive impact on the Cab from the non-aerated setting for all of our tasters. Upon tasting the Cab from the Aveine 3-hour aeration setting, one taster remarked, “Ah, this is the Platonic ideal of a Napa Cab.”

On the nose, we now also detected smoke in addition to the non-aerated aromas. The characteristic green bell pepper was slightly less noticeable, but still strong. On the palate, tannins decreased from high to a very well-integrated medium(+) level. The finish increased from medium to medium(+).

We had previously rated the non-aerated Cab as Very Good and the 1-hour aeration setting as Good. With these changes from the 3-hour aeration setting, we increased the quality level to Outstanding, the highest quality level, due to the longer finish.

Reviewing the impact of the Aveine wine aerator. Image pictures a woman writing on a worksheet with a bottle of wine and wine glasses in the foreground.

Conclusions

The Aveine had a definite impact on the 2014 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon.

Surprisingly, we found that the Aveine 1-hour setting decreased the quality from “Very Good” (no aeration) to just “Good” (1-hour aeration), while the Aveine 3-hour aeration setting increased the quality from “Very Good” to “Outstanding”. All tasters agreed the 3-hour Aveine aeration resulted in a higher quality wine than one with no aeration. One taster called the Cab aerated with the Aveine 3-hour setting the “platonic ideal of a Cab”.

We assume that part of the success of the Aveine is getting the hour aeration setting correct. If the setting is too low or too high, the aeration can decrease the overall wine quality. Of course, this is true with a decanter as well.

Perhaps this is why Aveine has created a database of aeration settings that they recommend. This database of proposed settings is available free as a mobile app with the purchase of the Aveine. However, there was not a recommended setting for the 2014 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon when we looked it up prior to our tasting.

Tasting Notes

Wine: Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley CA, 2014
Performed 06/23/2022 using the Wine and Spirits Education Trust’s (WSET) Structured Approach to Tasting (SAT). We aggregated the most common notes from all tasters.

Tasting #1: No aeration

  • Appearance: Clear, deep purple.

  • Nose: Clean, pronounced intensity with aromas of red cherry, blackberry, green bell pepper (capsicum), sultana, cedar, toast, and dried blackberry. This wine is developing.

  • Palate: Dry, medium(+) acidity, high tannin, high alcohol, full body, medium(+) flavor intensity. Flavors of red cherry, black raspberry, red currant, baked fruits, cedar, toast, and mushroom. Medium finish.

  • Conclusions: Very good quality (Balance, Intensity, Complexity). Can drink now, but has potential for aging.


Tasting #2: Aeration with Aveine, 1-hour setting

Only changes from no aeration noted.

  • Nose: Intensity decreased to medium(+). Detect noticeably less green bell pepper (capsicum) and additional cedar.

  • Palate: Acidity decreased from medium(+) to medium. Tannin decreased from high to medium(+). Flavor intensity decreased from medium(+) to medium.
  • Conclusions: Good quality (Balance, Complexity). Can drink now, but has potential for aging.


Tasting #3: Aeration with Aveine, 3-hour setting

Only changes from no aeration noted.
  • Nose: Detect smoke.
  • Palate: Tannin decreased from high to medium(+). Finished increased from medium to medium(+).
  • Conclusions: Outstanding (Balance, Intensity, Length, Complexity). Can drink now, but has potential for aging.


Review of 2014 Dunn Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon By Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate 

Provided for reference

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon has a wonderfully compelling, bright, vibrant nose of kirsch, black raspberries and fresh blackcurrants with touches of lavender, bay leaves, pencil shavings, wood smoke and tobacco. The palate is medium to full-bodied, concentrated and packed with vivacious red and black fruit layers, supported by firm, grainy tannins and oodles of freshness, finishing long with an enticing herbal lift. (LPB) (6/2018)

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