Last week I was in Vancouver for the very exciting launch of View the Vibe Vancity. Fabulous trip and great city. Perhaps a little slower paced, but that ain’t necessarily a bad thing – I realized that while working 12 hours a day is necessary at times, it’s not always necessary. I need to chill in other words… I also learned something else. While indulging in a delicious steak at Black and Blue with our Vancouver editor Danica, the lovely manager made his way over to charm the ladies. Obviously charm led to talk of wine – doesn’t it always? – which led to talk of sticking a bottle of wine in the blender as an alternative way to decant it. A French woman through and through, I couldn’t help but be a little bit apprehensive.
Really? Pour a beautiful bottle of wine in the blender? And then blend it for 30-60 seconds? Come on. Not possible. Oh but folks, apparently it is possible, and it actually opens up the wine at a super speed, which in turn will decant it to the same level a decanter would in 3 to 4 hours. Or so they say… This led me to research the technique as, I can’t lie, this does somewhat take the romance out of indulging in a beautiful wine.
What I discovered is that this is not a new thing – just a quiet one. Author of the book Modernist Cuisine, Nathan Myhrvold is a huge advocate of this technique and actually wrote about it in his book as well as in Bloomberg Businessweek.
“A few years ago, I found I could get much better results by using an ordinary kitchen blender. I just pour the wine in, frappé away at the highest power setting for 30 to 60 seconds, and then allow the froth to subside (which happens quickly) before serving. I call it ‘hyperdecanting.'” Really eh? Myhrvold suggests doing an actual test for those of us who might be skeptical.
So I took his advice. Over the weekend I opened a full-bodied California Cabernet Sauvignon and put half the bottle in a blender and the other half in a decanter. Thinking 30-60 seconds is a tad long (and very distressing to a beautiful California Cab), I zapped it for 30 seconds. The most disturbing part of this process is watching the wine get frothy. You know what I mean? That said, after 2 to 3 minutes, the wine settled and the beautiful flavours had effectively opened up. It was bloody fantastic. I also tried the wine that was sitting in the decanter waiting to open up, and that’s exactly what is was doing – opening up slow and steady.
So I guess the verdict comes down to time. If you have time to decant a wine for 3 to 4 hours in anticipation of bringing out its delicious flavours, then why not do it and keep the romance alive? If you don’t, this hyperdecanting technique is certainly a clever one and when you think about it logically, makes total sense. Me? Not sure exactly where I stand, but time is always an issue so chances are I’ll be using this technique again sooner than later.