How to "Age" Your Wine 5 Years in 20 Seconds: Hyperdecanting

120 Comments


(Photo credit: Oandu)

Wine tends to attract a lot of snobs who use bad French to ruin things.

Done at the dinner table, a brutal technique called “hyperdecanting” will appall that muppet with the popped collar on his polo shirt. It will also make your wine delicious, and make you a hero to everyone who wants to punch him in his smug little face. [cue 0:24]

On a practical level, you can outgun most faux-sommeliers (see what I did there?) with a little brute force. To do this, you first need to understand a bit about aeration.

When in Rome

Generally speaking, letting your wine “breathe” makes it taste better. Just like in our gluten-free kitten pancakes (see pg. 147*), a little air goes a long way…

Letting wine “breathe” equals increasing the surface area of the wine exposed to air for a set period of time. In wine-speak, this “opens the bouquet” (releases aroma compounds) and “softens” the flavor. In simple terms, it usually makes it taste better. Though the mechanism is debated, it appears to reduce the cotton-mouth effects of tannins, which makes aeration perfectly suited to “big” red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux. In another context, tannins are what make your mouth feel puckered and chalky if you drink overbrewed black tea. Aeration may also minimize wine defects like mercaptins, not to be confused with midichlorians.

Enough with the details, Ferriss. How do I aerate?

We’ll look at four methods: swirling and swishing, decanting, using a Vinturi, and beating the sh*t out of it. I’ll explain how to use them first, and there is a demo video at the end.

Method 1: Swirling and Swishing

This is the standard tabletop move. To avoid making an ass of yourself: Hold the glass by the stem, keeping the glass base on the table, and move it in fast but small circles. Take a small sip, hold the wine in your mouth as you tilt your head forward, and suck in a thin stream of air, almost as if you’re gargling upside down. Swallow and make a mmm-like sound to indicate deep thought.

Slap yourself if you do this while your friends are drinking Coronas.

Method 2: Decanting

Decanting is, strictly speaking, transferring liquid from one container to another. The Romans pioneered the use of glass decanters, which they used to remove sediment, leaving the gunk in the original storage vessel.

Decanters with wide bases are now used to expose wine to air, often for 1–2 hours or more.

Method 3: The Vinturi and Wordplay

The Vinturi® wine aerator is a handheld plastic device that capitalizes on Bernoulli’s Principle. Mr. B’s rule dictates—in simple terms—that as you increase the speed of a fluid’s movement, you decrease its pressure. Decrease the pressure of wine and it becomes easier to infuse more air in less time.

If you pour wine from the bottle, through the Vinturi, and directly into a friend’s wineglass, you will hear the accelerated siphoning of air into the stream, which also has a nice party-trick effect. Bingo: Mr. Science–style aeration and a nice shortcut.

The difference is subtle, but it makes for less waiting and less cleanup than traditional decanting.

Method 4: Beat the Sh*t Out of It

This method is not subtle. It’s a scientifically well-founded middle finger pointed at people who give a wonderful beverage a bad name.

I owe a hat tip to the brilliant Nathan Myhrvold, former CTO of Microsoft, master French chef, and creator of the iconic, never-to-be-outdone, $600 (or $450 here) cooking encyclopedia, Modernist Cuisine.

If aeration is exposing more liquid surface area to air, how can we take this to its logical extreme?

Blend it into a fury, of course. Nathan has done this with vintage wine gifted to him by Spanish royalty, but I’d suggest a practice run on something from Trader Joe’s first. Here’s how I do it:

- Pour 1–2 glasses of the wine into a large mixing bowl or—my favorite—a large Bomex beaker. If you’re using the latter, 600 ml of wine is perfect for the next step; just leave plenty of room at the top (I fill to around 400 ml). Take a sip for a good sense of “before.”

- Lower an immersion blender, also called a “stick” blender, into the glass, then blend for 20–30 seconds. Tip your container (or tilt the blender best you can) to enhance the foaming effect. If you have a standing blender like a Vitamix, feel free to go nuts.

The wine should now have a nice heady froth on it, like a proper Guinness. Pour into a serving cup—I favor a 250-ml Bomex, which is exactly one-third of a standard bottle of wine—and enjoy. It should taste markedly different. And, ladies and gents, that is how you achieve 3 hours of decanting, sans fancy descriptors, in 20–30 seconds. Wink at your most offended guest and ask them if they arm wrestle.

Thank you, Mr. Myhrvold.

(*P.S. The gluten-free kitten pancakes are a joke.)

The above is one of hundreds of shortcuts from The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life, available here at 50-80% off before the holidays.

###

Odds and Ends: Kindle Fire Winners!

The following 50 people shall receive the free Kindle Fire devices, unless they didn’t send us their mailing addresses. All of the below have received emails about the giveaway, so if you didn’t get an email and are reading this… not to worry. We’ll have more fun coming. Happy holidays!

Dane Davenport
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Ship times may vary, but I’m doing my best to get all of them to you by X-mas. Best not to count on it, but I’m double-checking again tomorrow.

Posted on: December 18, 2011.

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120 comments on “How to "Age" Your Wine 5 Years in 20 Seconds: Hyperdecanting

    • If you stick to wines that have been made to drink young then you won’t need water filters or aeraters, just pour from the bottle at 180 degrees and that should be enough for aeration. It does take some practice though so that you don’t overfill the glass, and if you do, it’s not a bad thing :) Trader Joe’s has some great drinkable wines at unbelievable prices.

      Like

      • Hey Tim!
        I read this post and have never heard of decanting before, I didn’t have any of the supplies on hand so I poured some wine into my protein shake mixer cup it worked great and even produced a froth at the top of it! Check it out.

        Like

      • Hey Tim, I am currently on Day Ten of fast, which I usually do 5-7 days each Christmas, just to clear out any rogue elements accumulated from the year. What method do you use? I follow Don Tolman (65+ yo scholar who does 40 day fasts and then runs 26 miles), and have been alternating days with fresh juices and water, along with some psyllium and green clay for bulk. Would love to see an article on methods you have looked into… (I’m sure that you, being you, did a LOT of research before you started!) Have mowed the lawn, cleaned out the gutters, had terrific sex and worked out upper body: amazing how much energy you can get from NOT eating!

        Like

      • I love how you play around with your body (sounds naughty? But I actually mean the clean version :P ). I guess if you’ve put on 37 pounds of muscles once, perhaps twice, you can do it again and again. Once you know how to lose weight and/or gain lean mass, there is no problems on losing it. Eventually you’ll find it back. I personally prefer my bulkier form :D

        Like

  1. Awesome info as usual! I use a venturi regularly, have to try the magic bullet on it.

    Off topic… Jeebus dude, did you steal that stove out of a FEMA trailer?

    Like

  2. I’m curious about this process and will definitely try it out but it seems there’s a bit of irony involved. Those who care enough about the tradition of enjoying fine wines will likely turn up their noses at what you suggest and those who enjoy wine socially among friends probably don’t care to sully more dishes than they care to wash once everyone’s gone home. So the question seems to be, is this not something more for the fringe foodie experimenters who are all in it for the flavor? I don’t see it catching on.

    Like

  3. Oh Tim, really? A stick blender? LOL. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should… ;-)

    BTW, that looks like an Italian wine (my fav), what were you, um, drinking?

    Ciao.
    Michael
    Los Gatos, CA

    Like

  4. Call me old fashioned, but I still prefer the “slow” way. There is nothing more fun than getting to see how a wine evolves over an hour (or even a few hours). Besides I think you have a lot more precise control over the overall process of aerating the wine using a traditional decanter since it happens over a longer period of time.

    Still a very cool post though; nice work Tim.

    Like

    • [To Chase]

      It’s not cool to scrape someone’s website. Be inspired, but don’t copy. More power to you if you want to start a blog, but there are too many free WordPress themes out there for you to justify scraping Tim’s site down to the bone. Design, layout, menu, disclosure, it’s all there. C’mon man…

      Like

  5. Can we get another post on getting dreams into action?? Or getting ideas into actual products. That’s what I’m working hard to do on my site and any help would be great!

    Like

    • Hi Robert,

      I appreciate the comment, but please note: the goal isn’t to find something that’s new to everyone. On the web, that’s not possible, especially with an educated audience (which I’m fortunate to have).

      The goal is to find and vet useful things that *most* of my readers won’t have seen. That could be 90%+ in some cases, but it could also be 51%.

      Happy holidays,

      Tim

      Like

  6. Tim,
    What’s your advice about not over decanting young wines? I have always followed the advice that you don’t put a young wine in a decanter to swirl because you will literally over air ate it. Versus older wines need a lot of decanting like 8 years or more being older. What’s your advice or rule of thumb

    Like

    • Greg, there’s nothing wrong with decanting a young wine, but generally you don’t need to. If it’s heavily oaked and perhaps too young to drink (many are), decanting it and letting it sit overnight might help. As Tim says, taste it and see — if it tastes fine, drink up! If it doesn’t, decant it and wait — but only if you have time.

      Decanting isn’t magic, as Tim shows, and far too many people worry about it. Vinturri is cute, but a waste of time in my book.

      Ciao.
      Michael

      Like

  7. Gotta watch out for those pesky snobs… especially ones trying to be witty with a well placed double entendre.

    Haha! Seriously though, that one made me laugh twice. Once for the double entendre and once for the fact that you immediately pointed it out.

    Question: Does a self-deprecating point of wit, when played on a double entendre directed at pretentious snobs, cause an immediate escalation to triple entendre?

    I think my head is about to explode with the sheer awesomeness of it all.

    Well played sir, well played indeed!

    - James

    Like

  8. “Wine tends to attract a lot of snobs who use bad French to ruin things.”

    “Though the mechanism is debated, it appears to reduce the cotton-mouth effects of tannins, which makes aeration perfectly suited to “big” red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Bourdeaux.”

    It’s Bordeaux, and a “bourde” is a stupid mistake.

    But I’m sure you did that on purpose :P

    Like

  9. Warm wine… mmmmm

    Maybe refrigerate the wine a little beforehand…

    I have that exact Aerator… its awesome (and does produce a markedly different taste)

    Like

  10. I believe Nathan and his team did blind triangle tests to prove hyperdecanting really works.

    People will think the wine tastes better if they see it poured into a decanter rather than pulverized in a blender.

    Idea for book: so much of taste is about perception. Is it ok for doctors to prescribe placebos if they actually work? Is it ok to pour a hyperdecanted wine into a normal decanter right before service if it makes the wine “taste” better?

    Like

    • Hi Kevin,

      Great point and question.

      In my opinion, you’d actually be doing them a favor by putting it in the decanter beforehand, if it improves their experience. I think this is analogous to plating for maximal aesthetic appeal, or even (in some cases) searing with a torch after sous-vide. The visual is critical to the perception.

      Best,

      Tim

      Like

  11. I’ve tried this method just this same weekend with my brother-in-law. We did a “double blind test”, trying to differenciate hyperdecanted wine with normal wine. No difference whatsoever. We both failed in detecting the hyper one :(

    Maybe we do not have a proper nose for wine though :)

    Like

  12. Hey, now that I think about it, there’s probably more going on here than meats the eye.

    Wine oxidizes with exposure to oxygen and time. When a wine goes sour in a day or two, it’s due to oxidization. But it seems like the blender trick serves to introduce the positive effects of oxygen without the negatives.

    I wonder if the tannins in the wine are somehow being bonded to oxygen or otherwise reacting so they are less present in the mouth, or are the different processes at work here.

    Any chemists want to chime in?

    Like

  13. Bordeaux or Bourdeaux…”Gold jacket. Green Jacket. Who gives a sh*t.” – Happy Gilmore

    I spent some time in BORDeaux in ’07 for the Rugby World Cup (which I know Tim, you will appreciated considering your penchant for warrior sports like hurling, and various MMA). Some of the best wine I’ve ever had – I’m sure the atmosphere had something to do with that!

    I tried the hyper-decanting yesterday as part of the “7 Day X-mas Countdown” on my iPad 4Hour Chef app! Didn’t sense much difference between hyper-decanting and using my aereator, but was a fun experiment overall. It was my first ever Cheat Day – or as I call it “Fat Kids Gone Wild” Day – and it was everything I hoped it would be and more.

    Also, Tim: ever try Buckfast “tonic wine” when you were in Ireland?? Was quite popular with some of the lads – never a dull moment when drinking that.

    Like

  14. Is there something wrong with me if all wine just tastes sour and the same to me? (I’ve tried expensive wines so it’s not that I only tried the el cheapo stuff).

    Zinc imbalance? Brain damage? Damage to taste buds? Lack of practice.

    Help me appreciate wine! :)

    Like

  15. I discovered the Vinturi about two years ago and it’s got to the point where I can’t drink a glass of wine without it. I’ve even been to a couple restaurants that Vinturi your wine for you.

    Like

  16. Great idea – Thanks Tim!

    The difference is not just marginal after first trial (I guess it also depends on your choice of wine).

    I don’t however own an industrial strength blender so resorted to my hand-held milk frother http://tinyurl.com/cxwx7c9, used to to make pseudo-cappuchinos.

    Easy to use, clean and store. Seems to be an alternative to le blender.
    Although there’s nothing like upgrading your goods with sheer horse power!

    Like

    • I was actually wondering if a milk frother would work. Especially now since I’m drinking my espresso sans milk (thanks 4 hour body…), hopefully I’ll be able to put the frother to work :)

      Like

  17. Good info.
    Unfortunately, I mostly drink simple wines. Learning a wine’s complexity and/or developing a more sophisticated pallet sounds like fun. However, I found that simpler wines yield the most joy with a larger audience, especially when variety is limited. Good company is the tastiest catalyst to any food and drink. And even the simplest wines can result in great times and fuzzy memories. :)

    Like

  18. America’s Test Kitchen recently covered this topic in the latest issue of Cook’s Illustrated. They found that pouring the wine from one container to another 15 times, made it taste better than the blender method.

    Like

  19. I tried this experiment after when you posted it on Amazon a few weeks ago, with one of my favorite Argentine cab. sauvignon…It had never tasted better, Ill be pulling this trick out for guest for sure!

    Thanks Tim

    Like

  20. BE CAREFUL!

    Before hyperdecanting make sure the device, as well as the container, does not have any part touching the wine made out of cheap plastic (better yet, no plastic) or cheap metal.

    I ended up setting up a blind test with a new device (hand mixer) – had a go and the hyperdecanted wine tasted HORRIBLE. I could taste the plastic and metal. Barf. Also felt like I had food poisoning for an hour afterwards.

    Be careful.

    But the whole idea of hyperdecanting is AWESOME! It works really well with the right equipment. Highly recommended, just be careful what you use do decant. Don’t try it the first time on the whole bottle.

    Like

  21. Tim!

    I’ve been messing around with your 5 second cadence idea, and i’ve been improving! I haven’t been following a calendar, just attempting it when I feel like it.

    First time: 25lb dumbells, pressed overhead 7.5 times.
    Second time: 25lbs x 8.
    Today: 25lbs x 10.5!

    Thanks for the idea!

    ….oh, also, do you ever look at the website attatched to our names? Why is that there?

    Like

  22. A question directly related to wine tech and snobbery.

    Have you gone up and down the sliding scale of quality and come out with any model of quality of wine v. quality of presentation? Do you have a personal snobbery line?

    I ask for a few topics. A few years ago it was found through a study that natural corks were less efficient than screw off tops for preserving quality in an aging wine. No study i’ve seen refers to the plastic-ish corks often used now. This was covered in a few different forms I happened to catch.

    I’ve also read some very very limited pieces on the pouch or box wine types. Personally for the utility of them I like it but quality of wine is commonly ignored at this level due to the snobbery end.

    Just wondered what your thoughts might be. When times are shitty I usually enjoy a box of Cabernet, I’ll have to mess around with your method and see if there’s anything I notice.

    Like

  23. For your next trick, try putting Vodka and other spirits through a Brita filter. Makes an extraordinary difference. But the snobs would never do that either. :-)

    Like

  24. If you are going to cite Conan, then you need primitive method to decant wine. How about:

    1. Put a few fingers of wine in cleaned peanut butter jar.
    2. Apply top.
    3. Shake to froth
    4. Remove top.
    5. Drink
    6. Kill random enemy
    7. Repeat until stumbling

    Like

    • @Rick September 2012 is right. Book deals are made with the publisher before they’re fully written.

      Does anyone get really sleepy when they drink red wine? I don’t have wine often because it’s like benadryl to me.

      Like

      • Arturo, you may be allergic to the sulfites which they put into red wine to preserve it (code 202 or 212 I think). It’s also in some white wines, and many people are allergic to it. Symptoms may include tiredness, headache and hangover-like symptoms (sounds like anyone would get this after too much wine but you may not get these effects after drinking an equivalent amount of purer spirit like vodka). Try taking an antihistamine before drinking it, as sulfite is a ‘histamine’. There is also a product called “PureWine” (www.purewine.com.au) which you can put into the bottle or the glass to negate the allergen.
        You’re welcome, brother.

        Like

  25. Hey Tim,

    I’m on the slow carb diet right now, and am loving wine. My friend has a vinturi aerator and it works great. I was wondering if you had any wine suggestions for a new wine-o. I like bold cabernet sauvignons and am on a budget.

    Thanks for the post, keep up the experimenting.

    Mike Tieden.

    Like

  26. Tim,
    I love your 4HWW series, but unfortunately have to raise a my hand here on your header at this will not “age” your wine 5 years in 20 seconds.
    “Hyperdecanting” your wine will certainly ‘open it up’ (the period after you open your bottle when the nose and flavour improves with exposure to air) but will not “age” your wine 5 years.
    Ageing wine involves many very complex and slow chemical reactions that take years – there is no known way to speed this up (though a lot has been spent researching it for obvious business advantage).
    I’ve worked in wine for over 10 years (though not a wine w@nker), from vintages in France, to study and hospitably. Just thought I’d raise this point.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aging_of_wine

    Cheers
    Mike

    Like

    • Thanks somebody finally pointed this out, there is reason why is wine maturing in the bottle and has got a vintage stated.
      I belive that natural tannins and acids helps digest the food better.
      How about matching food with the wine just gone through mixer, You got fairly good idea however It does destroying the basic characteristics of the wine. you guys just make fluffy alcoholic grape juice.

      Like

  27. Lots of snob-bashing in this post, as is often the case whenever a publication that isn’t about wine writes about wine. Knowing a lot about something doesn’t make someone a snob (and neither does speaking in bad French… it’s just one of those things that sometimes happens when you drink).

    Regardless, kudos on promoting the blender technique — any angle that helps to demystify this subject and make it more accessible to people is positive. My big concern with the blending, however, is that you lose the various stages that a wine goes through while decanting traditionally. One of the fun things about opening an age-worthy wine is tasting it as it changes over time, and speeding up that process deprives you of the ability to enjoy the journey. (Wasn’t there an Adam Sandler movie about a similar principle?) Also, plenty of wines don’t benefit from aeration and are best enjoyed right out of the bottle, i.e. lighter reds and many whites, so aerating them excessively is doing little more than hastening their decline into vinegar.

    As you mention in a response above, tasting the wine immediately is a good rule of thumb, as is progressing from swirling to decanting as necessary. I’d reserve the blender for only the stubbornest, most tannic young reds — preferably inexpensive ones, as the ones that cost a few bucks more often have interesting stories to tell as they open up.

    Like

    • Finally a nugget of useful information. Thanks for steering this ship in the right direction, Jesse.
      Thrashing a fine wine with a blender because someone can’t wait 30 minutes? This exemplifies how perfectly impatient we are today. The rest of this post stinks, and it perpetuates a foolish method.
      Cheers.

      Like

  28. I just went on your Amazon link to the 4 Hour Chef and it states that the title will not be available until September 2012.

    What’s up am I missing something?

    Like

  29. This is a great, classic Tim Ferris, post. The blender trick really does work, even on boxed wines (yeah, I’m a bit cheap). Thanks for sharing.

    Would love to hear your experience on the extended fast. Possible blog post to come?

    Like

  30. I just tried this experiment, shaking my glass of Cabernet Sauvignon La Huerta 2010 from Chile (it’s a cheap wine, but not bad and in Colombia wine is f. expensive) with a fork for 30″ and it worked pretty well.

    You also get the thumbs up from my italian friens oenlogist :)

    Like

  31. I enjoy the idea and believe that wine should be demystified, and believe the theatre of service might be improved with some application during service (I work in the industry).

    Most modern winemaking involves micro-oxygenation, but also the use of nitrogen to seal wine in the bottle. Aeration mimics the first and releases the second.

    Very intriguing!

    Like

  32. Hey, Tim. Funny comment thread.

    I’m curious about your fasting. How do you feel? You look healthy.

    Also, thanks for introducing me to Marks Daily Apple & Primal Blueprint. The Primal Blueprint has helped me tremendously and I find it very sustainable.

    – Jeff

    P.S. I just received a compliment message today from a client that “I’ve never seen a better, real life example of Tim Ferris (“New Rich”) and Michael Gerber (E-Myth) in PRACTICE.” Soooo, basically you’ve reached a new level of achievement, in that your name is now a label (along with “New Rich”) used to describe uber-effectiveness in business building strategy. Kudos :)

    Like

  33. OMG Tim you’re crazy, but THAT, we’ve all been knowing this for a long time :)

    Honestly, hard sight to bear for the French man I am, this wine blending BUT… I’ll definitely try this with a particular Medoc I love to drink :)

    Thanks for the advice,

    Matt, Paris, France

    Like

  34. Tim-

    Great entry. Have you seen the wind wand? It is pretty amazing…..it doesn’t make any sense but the wine tastes markedly different after a swirl with that thing. It also makes that perfect gift for the guy or girl that has everything.

    -Rusty

    Like

  35. My method is to pour a glass, cover the top with your hand or cork it, then shake it like you’re trying to make a bottle of pop explode for about 20 seconds. No blender or equipment needed.

    Another glass to test, then perhaps one more round of shaking. Works great. Every time.

    Like

  36. “tannins are what make your mouth feel puckered and chalky if you drink overbrewed black tea”

    I love brewing strong tea. Can I use the Vinturi to decant tea and get rid of the chalky aftertaste?

    Like

  37. Hey Tim
    I know you are a wine addict and a connoisseur, however … allow me to tell you some things about the next level – I’m by no means a connoisseur, just happened to find some thing out.
    Some wise man once said that good things take time to complete. A true work of art requires times, so does a plant or a child in order to grow to adulthood. There is natural flow to things, jumping over steps in order to get to end faster leads to predictable results. Try to force a butterfly to get out of it’s cocoon sooner and it will die. Force a children into adulthood and you will end up with a incomplete human being.
    This especially true with the wine.
    Let me tell a few things about wine. Thing is, wine is far more than mere fermented grape juice. It is a complex liquid; the best natural wines have been studied and it was found out they contain some 600 (!) different components, as opposed to 30 (or less in the case of falsified wines) for low quality ones. Wines are therefore more of a live being than a simple beverage. It grows in time almost as a child, absorbing the energy of its environment. People, location, sun, soil etc they all come together in creating a wine. This is why they say wines have personalities.
    True connoisseurs feel all these subtle energies that flow through the wine, as opposed to just taste or, in case of the majority the ‘liver ache/headache the morning after’ test.
    You can age the taste of the wine in 5 seconds …. but I wouldn’t be so sure about the rest.

    Final thoughts: this is meant as informative post. I admire you Tim for your work and your dedication … however, at the same time, I’d like you to understand there are some things are beyond efficiency, a whole world actually. A world that one cannot quantify but feel and live it. There’s no rush here, because things grow in their own time.

    Like

  38. Well Tim,

    Thank you for this video and the tips provided here. Personally I am a big fan of wine. I lived in Paris for 5 years where I took some wine-tasting lessons. I have also visited Bordeaux many times because my fiancé is from that amazing region.
    From all the above ways, I prefer the first one offe course: Method 1: Swirling and Swishing. I find is more original!

    I suppose you are going to open a good bottle to celebrate the new year!
    Enjoy :)

    Like

  39. Hey Tim, I tried this with a simple pump milk frother and it was a very notable difference with way less cords and clean up. I’m no wine connoisseur but even I could tell a big difference with an inexpensive bottle of Cab.

    For others interested just search Stainless Steel Milk Frother on Amazon. It’s kinda like a french press and works great on wine!

    Like

  40. Is it possible that brutalising wine with a blender affects the molecular structure? I know this is the case with deriving vegetable juice from a blender as opposed to a conventional juicer.

    Like

  41. I tried this today with 2 glasses. 1 untouched and 1 “hyperdecanted”. I have no real knowledge of wines but it definately tasted better.

    TIP: I used a milk frother wich you can just stick in the glass and it sounds and looks a little less brutal.

    Search google for “aerolatte”

    Like

  42. Im a big fan of the book and the site but after reading through the comments I feel compelled to make an important clarification. This method might seem great on big red wines and I’m sure most people who have tried it out after reading this post have noticed a “difference” but the science behind wine making just doesnt support this aggressive method.

    Wine’s aromas come from aldehydes and esters which when exposed to oxygen will make the wine more smelly. When a bottle of wine is aggressively shaken or decanted however you are breaking up those compounds so violently that most will never reform again, thus making a wine taste much different and probably worse, NOT better. This effect is commonly known as bottle shock. Wine is all about chemistry and decanting wine is about gently exposing the wine to oxygen, not pummeling the shit out of it.

    Tannin molecules on the other hand can be broken up through swirling, decanting and using a vinturi but this is only advisable on wines that can “take it” like the big cabs etc. You can be a little more aggressive here but using a blender on a great bottle of wine is going to screw with the flavor more than break up those pesky tannin. By the way, dont like tannic reds? Drink them with a steak or cheese and see what that does to them.

    A $10 wine from trader joes is not going to show much difference no matter what method you use because those wines aren’t made with any kind of body to show any difference. They are meant to be approachable upon release (which is the reason why they are popular). By the same token a lighter bodied red wine would actually taste worse after vigorous decanting as you’d be breaking up the flavor compounds in order to break up the tannin which isn’t there.

    There are a lot of gimmicks out there that are meant to help people understand wine better but are mostly frivolous and I hate to think of the idea of “hyperdecanting” catching on as the tried and true methods are way
    better.

    Here’s your best bet.

    $10 wine from TJs? Just drink it.
    Nice young powerful wine? Decant it in a regular decanter. Or just wait a while before opening it.
    Old wine? Be careful decanting at all because it’s already done the process naturally.

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  43. Great article Tim!

    Another suggestion I would add is if you only are planning on having one glass you could use a battery operated milk frother (eg: aerolatte) to do a similar job on a smaller scale.

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  44. Tim! We use a great “hyper-decanting tool” called Wine Swizzler that aerates your wine – in your glass! (as much or as little as you want, at the touch of a button)

    It’s not as messy as our old method of pouring a bottle in the blender and foaming it up to the ceiling, and it works just as well, if not better! I think you’d love it, and it’s a great travel size to take along in case of a wine-aerating emergency, wherever you are.

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  45. Wow Tim. I don’t often do this (that is go to a blog just to bash it) but I felt obligated here. Your theory on hyper decanting is just absurd. It’s late where I am and I can’t possibly tell you all the ways that you are misleading the wine-drinking public with your article and video here but I would love to talk with you about it sometime. To each his own but please take the time to educate yourself on the content before attempting to off hand tell others about “better” and “quicker” ways of doing things. I honestly feel sorry for you. Keep up with the blog here but I must admit that articles like this are on my top ten list of things wrong with the wine world.

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  46. Loved the tip on wine hyperdecanting and video. Quite unconventional and I’m sure would make a lot of ‘wine snobs’ frown. I’ll try this for sure!

    Also, being French, I feel that i must say this: make sure to hold the glass from the very bottom. Tradition has it that it will prevent from the smell of your hands to affect the taste of your wine…(granted this is an old tradition when hands weren’t particularly clean but still…)

    Best
    Bruno

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  47. Chris,
    Tim got this idea from the book “Modernist Cuisine”. Perhaps if you see who’s behind that book and their standing both as scientist, chef and wine enthusiast you might not be so quick to dismiss the idea. And give it ago – it does actually work.
    Adam

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  48. Hey Tim!
    Not sure if this has been posted yet but my girlfriend and I tried the “blender method” with a cheap boxed wine we were trying to make drinkable and used one of our Blender Bottle Protein Shakers to aerate the wine. Worked like a charm! We tested it on a number of other “good” wines versus our Vinturi units and the results were pretty stellar. There doesn’t seem to be a plastic taste left from the bottle…or maybe our pallets are not as refined as some.

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  49. Thanks for the tip tim! I used your knowledge and adapted my own aeration method.. a $2 battery powered milk frother from ikea! works fantastically and no cleaning or power point required ;)

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  50. I thought you would put something into the bottle of wine to age it 20 years… Lol! I get it.. Thanks for that technique.. I’d better try it that on our upcoming sales rally we’ll sure have a cocktail party then.. Thanks very much!

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  51. I’ve got another one for you Tim that’s really cool, (I mean cold actually) and makes wine snobs turn over in their graves.
    Take that unused opened bottle of wine that you can’t drink right now, put it in a plastic water bottle, no more than 2/3 full, (for expansion),and freeze the shit out of it. Pull it out of the freezer in two or three months, thaw and drink.
    It will still taste great. Check it out!

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  52. Hi Tim!

    I thought you might like this. It’s a slick combination of design, photography and foodie arts > http://ht.ly/8K7aC

    Not my site. Just one I peruse from time to time.

    And thank you SO MUCH for the pic with my (now your) eggcups! I was over the moon.

    Un abrazo fuerte,
    Camila.

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  53. Some sense, more nonsense, and two critical omissions.

    First, the last.

    It doesn’t much matter what you do with garbage wine, but treat even half-decent reds gently – ordinary old rosés are beyond hope, and most whites fairly robust. And take pains to get the temperature right – a circlet wine thermometer should be your first accessory. Cool under a damp tea-towel or warm in your house. And be warned, this can take hours.

    Always decant reds, even junk, down to the last mouthful which, joy of joys, you taste. Usually a contaminated wine stinks but, once in a blue moon, only the taste is affected. Don’t worry about being able to detect this, if you stumble on one you won’t be spitting it out just to stay sober. Open the bottle half an hour before drinking, and pour slowly into a container, a proper decanter is best but a jug will do provided it’s impeccably clean. Stop when there’s just a little left, and taste it – drink it if there’s no sediment – to make sure there hasn’t been contamination. In a restaurant, pour reds into your glasses as soon as you can, up to the point of maximum diameter for classic tulips and, if need be, warm them in your hands – or, if too hot, send the bottle back to be cooled or even, in emergency, add an ice-cube.

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  54. Hi Tim,

    Nice methods ;)

    However, the last one “mixing” method may be not as good for wine as you think. High speed mixing will (probably) kill most of the wine enzymes and antioxidants… which is bad thing for us. If that will happen wine will lose it’s health giving “power” :)

    I’m not hundred percent sure about that but if fresh vegetable juices are losing their best stuff by fast mixing I think that wine may be subjected to the same effect.

    Have a great day!

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  55. Another thing to remember is temperature — too-warm wine (red/white) tastes bad. I don’t hesitate to fish an ice-cube or two from my water glass into my wine glass. Dilution is a minor sin compared to too warm.

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  56. Tried different aerating methods to improve quality of a not soo good Bordeaux and after the fith glass I couldn’t make find any differences anymore.
    Sure, the extreme method with the mixer helped in getting more air in and develop taste, but I prefer the slow decanting (for me wine is not only the taste and smell, but also the atmosphere).
    Anyway, very interesting article and I will try the mixer-method again when having a party.

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  57. Aerating has its place, but it doesn’t really mimic aging. All you’re doing is volatilizing fruit aromas. Shaking the crap out of something isn’t going to, say, cause autolysis, or any number of the other reactions that happen as wine is exposed to oxygen slowly. Bringing those fruit aromas up to the surface in young reds will soften the effect of tannin, yes. But what will really soften tannin is time. The reason for decanting older wines is to pour them off their sediment, and sediment is, basically, bits of fruit skin, stem, seed, and other teensy solids that have fallen out of solution. These bits are what creates the tannic sensation. When they’re stuck at the bottom of the bottle, they can’t make you feel like your tongue is stuck to the roof of your mouth.

    The other thing that shaking wine can do, is get out CO2. Many whites, and an increasing number of reds (Mollydooker comes to mind – they recommend that you do the “Mollydooker Shake” on their wines if you drink them soon after release. Beaux Freres, the culty Pinot project from Parker’s brother in law is another example.) are bottled with a big slug of CO2 to preserve the wine as an alternative to sulfuring.

    Tim’s advice to taste before you aerate and/or agitate is spot on. Aerating will always change a wine, but it might not always change it in a way you’ll like.

    Also, please don’t take my mention of Mollydooker as an endorsement. Wines like those make me want to hide in a corner the fetal position, clutching a bottle of Saumur Blanc or Cru Beaujolais as some sort of talisman against the rising tide of nasty, overoaked, over-extracted crap a Parkerized wine world has brought forth.

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  58. HI, I am interested in selling a cookie that I make to local places and then turning it nation wide once its a proven market. My question is how can I make these out of my home and sell them? I was told I need a commercial kitchen to cook out of. Is there any way around this? Thank you!

    Like

    • Only way around it is as far as I know is to approach an existing restaurant kitchen or bakery that has passed health inspection and to rent their premises out of their business hours. Once you have a market that can cover your expenses you can decide whether to start your own commercial kitchen.

      Like

  59. Hi im sorry, but what advantage has blending over just putting it in a sealable container and shaking it? Wouldn’t that work as well?

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  60. Hey Tim, read both 4hww and (most of) 4hbody and absolutely love em both, have recommended them to all my like-minded friends and associates.

    Anyways, I’ve been following your PAGG stack for a cutting cycle and have loved it so far. Was recently at a health food store to replenish my stocks of A and G when the sales associate suggested a new product called PGx. Their website ( http://www.pgx.com/ca/en/ ) indicates numerous studies showing its efficacy for reducing the glycemic index of foods as well as insulin response.

    Apparently its a special fibre complex that works synergisticly to slow down digestion and therefore the spike. Was really hoping you could look into it, may want to add it to future revisions of 4hbody. No I do not work for this company or anything, but if you do look into it please shoot me back an e-mail cause I’d love to hear your take. Thanks again, appreciate the dramatic change your books have made in my life bro. Love and luck buddy!

    P.S. I have started taking PGx, so when I finish the bottle I’ll get back with results, hopefully get a blood-glucose monitor and run some tests as well. THANKS!

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  61. Use a Aerolatte Milk Frother, from 0,99 (even IKEA sells those). Not so “brute-force”ful… but with the same astonishing effect, also you can use it which half the wine in the desired glass and fill up afterwards.

    Steve

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  62. Tim,
    This is completely outrageous and unexpected. I can’t wait to try it, especially since I never buy a bottle of wine that costs more than $10. I wonder is this is wasted on my untrained palate. Still I love the idea of using my blender the next time we have guests for dinner.

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  63. Hi Tim,

    decanting is also about removing the solid precipitate from the wine… (and leaving it at the bottom of the decanter, hence its name)… your method ruins this effort :)

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  64. Hey Tim I took notice of what you were saying about the oversteeped tea flavor and I got the idea to “hyperdecant” my tea!

    With some herbal blends it is hard to tell how long to steep due to the all the different ingredients, so I usually just deal with some bitterness. But today I put it in the blender for 20 seconds and voila! I have tea that foams like beer and tastes great!

    Cameron

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  65. We had a wine tasting for about 10 people and tried the wines 3 ways:
    1. Straight out of the bottle
    2. Through the Venturi Wine Aerator
    3. Beat the S*** out of it.
    They were all red wines, Sirah & Zin.

    The hands down consensus was that the Venturi did the best job of mellowing the wine.

    Nick

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