I am not a wine drinker myself, but a good friend loves his wine, so I thought an aerator would make a good birthday gift for him. Not having any experience in this, I thought I'd turn to the boards for some help.
I've done a search of online local stores, and this seems to be the widest range of options - http://www.yuppiechef.co.za/wine-tool....
From the reviews I've read, I thought the Nicholas Collection VinOair Wine Aerator looks like a good option, as it has a lot of positive reviews and reviewers citing preference over the others on its Amazon page. I thought someone here might be able to advise on which would be the best option.
Overriding truth on this seems to be that true wine aficionados aren't really into aerators. As noted, there are much more wine-friendly ways to coax wine to mellow out. But the vast majority of wine drinkers are fine with these mechanical devices as they do get the job done for most people. The decision as to whether it's a good gift or not is mostly a factor of the wine experience, knowledge, and palate of the giftee.
My own personal experience:
First off, you aerate to "artificially age" your wine, soften tannins, and coax out the flavours.
Aerating is achieved in the following ways:
Using an Aerator is the most aggressive followed by the "Splash Decant" (pouring it fast into a decanter) followed by the gentle pour with or without a funnel, followed by the slow-ox method (remove the cork and let it sit).
One more thing, I'm a firm believer in bottle shock - which is were wine is adversly effected during shipping.
So what am I getting at? I've found that Aerators are fine for big wines with lots of structure. More sensitive wines such as Gamay and Barbera (both made for immediate consumption) react adversly.
I would forego the Aerator and buy your freind a Riedel Decanter or a nice pewter wine funnel.
There have been a few board discussions on the subject. Here's one I started: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/774429
I have never seen a VinOair but have lots of positive feedback on the Vinturi
[ http://www.yuppiechef.co.za/vinturi.htm?id=3903&name=Vinturi-Red-Wine-Aerator (it's not just for red wine as it states) ] and have also heard good things about the Nuance
[ http://www.yuppiechef.co.za/nuance.ht... ].
After looking at the VinOair site, though, I'd say it could be a really good choice. The only thing about in-bottle aerators that could be an issue is whether there's as much air getting into the wine compared with a Vinturi. I'd have to see one in action to give an opinion, but the design seems really good.