Blending wine does indeed make it taste better. Whether hyperdecanting using a blender, decanting and leaving it to stand, or, optimally, double decanting back and forth between two pitchers, one can expect a more complete expression of flavor, lower astringency, and a fuller bouquet. Not all wine should be blended, but blending is one of the best ways to bring out better taste notes and aroma from a young red wine. We’ll be taking you through a complete look at why blending makes wine taste better and how you can use this tested technique to improve your own.
Blending wine causes sulfur compounds and mercaptans responsible for wine’s unfavorable flavors and off-aromas to evaporate. This allows more desirable aromatics to be perceived in the bouquet. A minute or under in a blender or decanting back and forth between two vessels effectively aerates wines which soften tannins. Tannins are softened which brings out fruity flavor and several enticing aromatic compounds.
Hyperdecanting is the act of aerating wine in a blender to improve its taste. As any wine enthusiast will know, decanting wine and allowing it time to air is a proven means of enhancing flavor. When wine is exposed to far more air than it normally is through the process of blending or repeated decanting, a great number of volatile compounds evaporate, leaving a pure bouquet and the most natural flavor.
Former Microsoft CTO and author of Modernist Cuisine, molecular gastronomist Nathan Myhrvold first proposed the theory of hyperdecanting back in 2011. Myhrvold’s article for Bloomberg Businessweek detailed the process of blending, proposing that it improves red wine in the same way as traditional decanting just in seconds instead of days. Ever since the theory of blending wine for aeration has been confirmed scientifically and in numerous blind test tastes.
Traditional decanting leaves an opened bottle of wine to air after careful pouring for periods ranging between as little as 15 minutes to three full days. A minute of blending grants the same flavor-enhancing effects as two to three hours of decanting. Hyperdecanting works best with younger vintages, softening the tannins that are responsible for the lingering sharpness and dry-mouth acidity associated with cheap wine.
Several wine aeration devices are available to bring out flavor while diminishing unfavorable volatile compounds. Blending, or hyperdecanting as it has come to be known, oxygenates wine in a similar manner to using a wine aerator. Studies confirm that aerating wine using commercial aerating devices increases the concentration of short and branched-chain esters and acetates responsible for flavor and aroma while decreasing phenolic substances that grant undesirable taste and smell notes. It does not, however, affect fermentation. Aerating, therefore, brings out the red fruit characteristics of wine while decreasing astringency and off-smelling odors.
Keep in mind, aerating wine can have both a positive and negative effect on its taste and smell. Over aerating a fine red wine that’s aged to perfection will ruin its bouquet and flavor profile. A rise in compounds like methional granting earthiness, (Z)-2-nonenal instilling a green quality, (E)-2-octenal resulting in a fatty odor, and o-aminoacetophenone resulting in astringency (among others) make wines lose many of their fruity, herbaceous, flowery, fresh notes. Furthermore, there’s a gradual loss of volatile compounds responsible for the wine’s bouquet if over-aerated, like isoeugenol granting fragrant smokiness, fruity ethyl hexanoate, and (Z)-3-hexanol, which imbues a floral freshness.
Hyperdecanting for around half a minute in a blender or five minutes of pouring between two pitchers is all that it takes to aerate wine. Double decanting results in a better taste and smoother consistency when done properly. Follow these simple instructions to improve your wine in minutes.
- Gather two larger decanting jars or pitchers big enough to accommodate the wine comfortably
- Fill one of the containers with a bottle of wine
- Slowly but steadily pour the wine from one pitcher/jar to the next
- Immediately repeat the process, filling the original vessel
- Continue decanting back and forth for a total of ten sets or twenty pours
Once the foam settles, your wine is ready to drink.
- Dispense your wine into a blender or large enough container to use a stick blender without messing
- Blend on the highest setting possible for 30 to 60 seconds
- Wait for the bubbles to pop and the foam to dissipate.
From here, it’s up to you how to store your hyperdecanting wine. The ideal solution would be to put it aside in a decanter while drinking everything freshly aerated quickly after. You don’t want your wine to oxidize further for too much longer, or it’ll start to lose its vibrancy, becoming flat before finally slightly off-putting.
We suggest that you only use hyperdecanting on affordable brands of red wine. The younger and cheaper the wine, the more hyperdecanting it’ll need. Don’t ever blend more wine than you’re about to drink immediately. It’s far better to blend up two glasses first and then see how it goes before blitzing up another batch fresh – the flavor will always be better.
Many have noticed that blending certain types of wine brings out a strong taste of alcohol. As mentioned, if the wine is already aged, most of the flavor and aromatics have already developed. Winemakers go to great lengths to control the oxygenation and consequently oxidation of their wine in order to reach a specific flavor. Hyperdecanting is therefore only advised for cheaper wine, with decanting without a blender arising as a viable option no matter which wine you’re serving.
Sommeliers largely recommend that every bottle of wine should be decanted and left to stand for at least 30 minutes on average. As a general rule of thumb, decant younger wines for longer periods and seldomly leave a decanted bottle of wine to stand for more than two to three hours. Blend wine between two jugs or hyperdecant using a blender to be surprised by an amazing taste transformation that’s just as good as traditional decanting over hours or even days. There’s no faster way to aerate wine and unlock dimensions of flavor.