27 September 2011

Decanting New Ideas

Let her rip - The Blender Decant

A reader sent a heads up yesterday from Business Week on decanting with a blender (seen here). Simply pour a bottle in a blender and let it rip on high for 30-60 seconds. The 'foam' subsides PDQ and you're ready to pour and enjoy. My first thought on this version of a "Spank" decant? It can't be done with an old wine. Where's all that sediment go? I assume every damned where.

But with a young California Cab or Spanish Monstant - - Well, it would seem to make sense. With my favorite, the little known Italian tannin howitzer from Umbria, Sagrantino di Montefalco, (six - eight hour decant - I kid you not), this hyper-spank makes huge sense.

Decanters are a pain. A pain to wash and a pain to dry -- although a close friend with a wine addiction in London suggested a blow dryer for those hard to reach places to dry in my favorite ship's decanter. It really works. Also, much of the aerate product out there looks pretty dodgy so what's the risk with a blender?

My tweak is to use an immersion blender -- in a large glass pitcher. It's gonna do what the blender does, but without the horror of pouring a bottle into something the Foxtrot uses for her frozen margaritas. Food nerd and ex Microsoft CTO, Nathan Myhrvold is grabbing all the credit he can find for the idea, but it looks like it's been around a while. Early 'wine expert' naysayers deal with the newbie idea here in a fascinating forum discussion right out of Moneyball. Cheers, to the Newbie.


Oyster Guy said...

Now I am sure you are drinking with Muffy Aldrich. It's the ole "treat a shop girl like a duchess and a duchess like a shop girl routine isn't it? Just be sure to make eye contact and arch a single eyebrow when you press "on" the Braun... ;)

Main Line Sportsman said...

Just be certain that the particles of smoked trout are cleaned off that wand from the last batch of mousse....those things are damned hard to clean and floaters of old fish in your lovely wine would ruin the whole gig.

longwing said...

I kind of like opening the Sagrantino early, it enhances the sence of anticipation. But giving a quick spank to the second bottle is brilliant.

Spalding said...

I have not tried a blender but I do have a 3L erlenmeyer flask. 750ml of wine is an inch deep and all surface.
Buy the way Tintin I know you like brandy, on your list of grat cheapies have you tried Reynal XO, greatr for sidecars.

Anonymous said...

angel cake pataince is a virtue. if you're that eager to hit the sauce you should give up. What about process, presentation, sunshine??

tintin said...

Oyster Guy- I could never arch a single eyebrow but I can wiggle my ears.

Main Line- It might work in a white burgundy.

longwing- it really works. Amazing what 60 secs in the blender will do. I just have to figure out how to sell a blender as a wine aerator.

Spalding- I save Brandy for winter and have sworn off sidecars due to their danger and high sugar content. But Reynal XO looks interesting. I'll give it a try.

Puddin' pop- I'm not gonna blend an old wine for the very reasons you suggest. But a quick dinner at home of pasta is the perfect occasion for a hyper spank decant of a $10 Italian red. Even better spanking is the $11 Spanish Monstant with cheese, bread and smoked meats. It makes a huge diff.

Sartre said...

I don't know which is sillier, the idea of the blender or the fact that you're decanting your $10 drinking wine.

When I worked in the wine business everyone wondered why America hadn't become a true wine drinking country, along the lines of Spain, Italy, Greece, et al. Then someone would come up with a pretension like this to further separate those "in the know" from the rest of the hoi polloi. Pity us poor slobs who are just pouring the stuff from the bottle, isn't that the idea?

tintin said...

Sartre- Obviously you're sillier. Especially if you think there's some problem with aerating wine. Even $10 wine. Hell, it's more important to decant a $10 tannic Italian red than a $55 Pinot Noir. Working in the 'wine business' you should know that using a common everyday kitchen appliance to significantly improve wine, regardless of price, is just of the opposite of pretension. At least in my book.

Anonymous said...

Fearing condescending comments, I will ask a few questions because this is an area out of my comfort zone.
1. Why should one aerate wine? Flavor?
2. Does one aerate all types of wine?
3. I understood about older wines... that made perfect sense. How old is a wine before it is NOT a good idea to aerate?

tintin said...

1. The short answer is yes. Exposure to oxygen softens the tannins which are the seeds and skin of the grape and which hold the wine together and give you that sandpaper feel in the mouth. Decanting softens the wine giving it a more pleasant mouth feel. My two favorite words.

2. No. A pinot noir or red burgundy do not need decanting. Neither does champagne or most whites.

3. Never. Any wine, except for those mentioned in Question 2, could stand a good decant. Some wines need longer than others. I have decanted some wines for 6 hours and have tasted them at various times. Right out of the bottle they can be tight and rigid. Like a Young Lifer. An hour later they're softer and open up. Like an English major. A couple hours and they're ready. Easy like a drama major.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the lesson! I already feel more sophisticated.

Anonymous said...

The subject of decanting has spurred many hours of arguement in parlours and on wine boards. People have been putting young Granges in the Waring for years. It actually replicates a winemaking process called micro oxegination. This basically softens the tannins and turns potentially hard wines into blueberry milkshakes.

In addition to softening tannins, decanting also causes the fruit to brighten after a long rest under the cork. It is smart to limit the amount of air your wine comes in contact with. I put a jar lid over the opening of my decanter.

I think decanting or air exposure would help all but the oldest of wines. The no decanting Burgundy rule is a myth IMHO. Even if you don't have a decanter pouring a few ounces into a glass increases the air exposure in the bottle. This worked very well for a Pradeaux tasting I did in France last year.

David J. Cooper

WSET Certified wine snob.