Hyperdecant Wine

A while back I was watching a YouTube video of Tim Ferriss (of 4-Hour Workweek fame) jam a stick blender into a bottle of wine in order to “Hyperdecant” it. What bullshit. But, of course, how do you really know unless you try it?

The claim is that you can “age” a bottle of wine 5 years in 20 seconds. Here’s a blurb from his blog (for your reference, I am the appalled muppet you want to punch):

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.

Okay. Well, I’d like to beat Tim Ferriss about his face, but I can’t because he learned karate in 20 minutes right before having tantric sex with three Japanese snow bunnies at an ancient mountain dojo. Whatever, Tim.

Anyway, every once in a long while, I’m invited to a tasting where somebody with a real cellar opens a bunch of highly-scored / cult wines and we taste through the lot. At some point during one of these particular evenings, when we were all thoroughly sloshed and had run out of multisyllabic adjectives, I suggested we “hyperdecant” a young Parker 100-point wine and blind taste it.

I’m not a huge Parker fan or rating fan in general, but, in my very limited experience, these wines do tend to possess something more. More layers, more depth, more fruit — more something — than what I normally drink (cheap, geeky, hipster French wine). And maybe it’s only because I know how expensive they are (I rush home to wine-searcher to look).

So we stick-blended the shit out of it — an ’07 Saxum James Berry Vineyards Rhone blend (Grenache, Mouvedre, Syrah). We blindfolded ourselves one by one and tasted not knowing which glass was unblended and which was . . .

Unanimous.

We had killed it. It retained about as much life as a Jessica Simpson Christmas album. On the nose, I got notes of mineral water, morning dew, and unicorns. In other words, nothing. Rien (apropos bad French). On the palate, there was weight, but little else. I was drinking a ghost — the sad, sad fruitless ghost of a once-great bottle of wine.

I generally shy away from telling people how to live their lives, but I will say this: I believe some things by definition take time — wine being one of them. When I crack open a bottle, I want to experience all of it, from coarse, mouth-puckering youth, through time-tempering maturity — and even over-the-hill bitterness when it’s been in the fridge for a week and I’m eating cold pizza. I’m with Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting — “imperfection” is the good stuff.

So will it blend? For me? No. No it will not.

Matthew Mullet works in energy and also spends a lot of time writing code. In the summer, he can be found tending to a large garden and sipping chilled rosé on his porch in rural Ohio.