Hyper-Decanting Wine in a Blender

or… Wine Frappé—the Next Big Trend?

Yesterday I read a very interesting article: How to Decant Wine with a Blender by Nathan Myhrvold.  This caught my attention for three reasons: 1) It's about wine.  2) In a blender, seriously?  3) It was written by Nathan Myhrvold.  

Nathan Myhrvold is a fascinating fellow – I've been following his work for sometime now but especially after he wrote a 2400 page, $500 cookbook on food and science called Modernist Cooking: The Art and Science of Cooking.  It is a beautiful book and I highly recommend that you check it out (here's a TED Talk video on the book).

Hyperdecanting wine in a blender

Anyway, back to the article.

​Wine lovers have known for centuries that decanting wine before serving it often improves its flavor …the traditional decanter is a rather pathetic tool to accomplish it.

In the article, Mr. Myhrvold suggests that a kitchen blender is highly effective at aerating wine.  He says "…it almost invariably improves red wines—particularly younger ones, but even a 1982 Château Margaux".  Though no Château Margaux was handy I decided to give it a go anyway; after all, I'm no wine snob, if a blender improves the wine then I'll happily blend away!

I didn't have a blender but I found this handy-dandy little guy on Amazon for $15.  It holds 14oz, just nice for a wine aerator. (Being the instant gratification kind of guy I am, I ended up buying it at Wal-Mart on sale for $9. Shhh!).  So I turned on the camera, popped the cork on a bottle of a Paso Robles' 2007 Stanger Bench Cuvee and blended away.

The result of this little experiment was pretty surprising.  The hyper-decanted wine was clearly very different and that difference was mostly structural.  The wine felt different on the pallet, specifically weightier and softer–you might say lusher.  The wine's tannins were unaffected and the flavor profile didn't show real improvement.  Overall I was pleased with the result and will experiment some more with this.  And if anyone out there has an extra bottle or two of Château Margaux—in the name of science I would be happy to put it to the blend test.

Give this a try and let us know in the comments.  I think wine is heartier than we give it credit for.  Perhaps Frappéd wine is the next big wine geek trend?

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11 Responses to “Hyper-Decanting Wine in a Blender”

  1. I have been doing this for years and it works great. Best part is you don’t have to wait an hour for a nice wine to breathe before drinking it. You can also watch your wine snob friends turn their noses up at the practice, but then agree it just works

  2. Okie Terrence…will try this for fun!

  3. Really enjoyed this video Terrence! You actually may be onto something with the whole wine frappe thing. I only have a regular sized blender though not one of those cool small ones you have. Will give it a try though.

  4. We tried this too. Used a bottle of rabbit ridge 2006 syrah,an ok wine. My husband and I both thought the Hyperaerating did improve the wine,especially the finish. My tasting was blind and I chose the aerated wine! Thanks for video

  5. The main thing I noticed in both videos is that the blenders have standard metal blades in them that might react with the acids in the wine and change the profile.  It would  be interesting to see the results with a magnetic high speed “lab” type blender that uses a glass or plastic stirring blade so as to have no metal contact at all.

    • I don’t think the metal blades will react at all with the wine.  The blades are stainless steel and are non-reactive.  In fact, much of the equipment in wine making including fermentation tanks and storage barrels are often stainless steel.

  6. Let’s start with the basics. Aearating wine does not mean decanting wine !
    It’s recommendable to start to learn wine first, before you put it into a blender.

    • I suspect Mr. Myhrvold chose the term hyper-decanting simply because it’s a catchy name.

      Beyond that, it’s true that decanting traditionally served the purpose of changing the vessel containing the wine for a variety of reasons.  The most common reason was to clarify the wine by pouring carefully to avoid sediment.

      However it is foolish not to admit that the primary reason people decant today is for oxygen exposure.  Aeration, is very much about oxygen exposure.  Thus I find it perfectly acceptable to interchange decanting and aeration in this context.

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