Oxygenators, aerators, Vinturis, decanters, call them by their brand or purpose, they baffle most people as yet another "wine-people exclusive, self-hatred inducing accessory". But they're a great idea for complex reds, though fun to use and no harm for simpler wines. Here's why: "Breathing" is exposing wine to oxygen and allowing the complex compounds that are the physical make-up of juice to breakdown and in the process turn, like a flower from bud to brown, into a bright, glowing beauty. And like a flower that's bloomed, there is the 'opening', 'peak' and 'station wagon ride a la National Lampoon's Family Vacation to death'. The process of "letting a wine breathe" adds to the pleasure and enjoyment of most reds, generally those of the more tannic, bolder and aged variety. I own multiple of all of the above as I enjoy their practical purpose as well as the aesthetic nature of a crystal decanter on a baroque monster dining table. They are expensive. Aerators average about $40 and decanters start at the same price and can reach into the thousands of dollars.
What you can do: remove the cork from your wine bottle and pour enough wine into your glass to expose the shoulder of the bottle (where the neck meets the curve -- until the wine is about 3 in. from the mouth of the bottle). For most reds (I do not recommend decanting or aerating Pinot Noir given its delicate aromas), I'd let the wine rest in the open bottle for about 20 min. and then taste. It's fun to taste what you've poured into your glass immediately after exposing the shoulder to compare at the 20 min. mark. For wines that are older, beyond 5-6 years, particularly blends and 'big' Cabernets, you can wait anywhere from 30 min - an hour. For some wines, I've waited beyond four hours and the wine still needed more time. But don't worry: only the Chinese can afford those these days. #OCCUPYWINEBOTTLES