A centuries-old wine serving method has collided with a modern-day kitchen appliance. We try out the slightly wacky hyperdecanting technique.
Traditionally, decanting involves a fair amount of perseverance. You have to transfer the wine into another vessel and wait for it to settle down and ‘breathe’.
After an hour or so, the delicate aromas and flavours will eventually release, any astringent tannin taste will be muted and unwanted sediment left behind.
Of course, decanting doesn’t consider one crucial factor. Humans can be impatient creatures and waiting over an hour for a glass of Cab Sav isn’t everyone’s definition of a good time.
Although we briefly touched on decanting here, we have since stumbled upon a speedier approach.
Nathan Myhrvold introduced hyperdecanting in his science-focused (and rather pricey) cookbook, “Modernist Cuisine at Home”. The former Microsoft chief technology officer proposed that a blender could create better tasting wine in just 60 seconds.
The thought of dumping a bottle of wine into a high-powered whizzer is enough to make any vino fan shudder.
But according to Myhrvold, hyperdecanting is the best and fastest way to expose wine to oxygen.
“Although torturing an expensive wine in this way may cause sensitive oenophiles to avert their eyes, it almost invariably improves red wines – particularly younger ones, but even a 1982 Chateau Margaux. Don’t just take my word for it, try it yourself.”
So we did.
“But set up a proper blind taste test to avoid subconscious bias among the tasters.”
We did that, too.
However, there was something unsettling about watching a decent red turn into a Guinness-like froth.
The traditionally decanted wine displayed a full, well-balanced mouth feel with a subtle fruity flavour shining through.
The hyperdecanted wine, on the other hand, had gained a slightly dry, bitter finish and weightier structure. It felt ‘off’, as though we had blitzed the life and soul out of the wine.
While we can’t say that we’ll be reaching for the blender for our future decanting needs, you shouldn’t kick a wine hack ‘till you try it.