Is Hyperdecanting All Hype?

 
Traditionally, decanting wine involves pouring the wine into a larger receptacle and allowing it to sit and “breathe”. This helps to reduce the taste of tannins and the astringency. Additionally, it will help bring out the natural aromas and flavors. Decanters made of metal or earthenware have been traced back to the Roman Empire.

Although most Walla Faces red wines do not need to be decanted, our bold 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, the Janice, benefits from sitting in a decanter for about an hour at cellar temperature. Unfortunately, many of us are impatient creatures. Waiting an hour for a glass of wine can be a slow torture. That’s where hyperdecanting comes in.

Master Chef Nathan Myhrvold, author of the colossal (an expensive!) cooking volume Modernist Cuisine proposed hyperdecanting as a quicker method for decanting your favorite wine.

Myhrvold outlines his technique, stating “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.’ Although torturing an expensive wine in this way may cause sensitive oenophiles to avert their eyes, it almost invariably improves red wines—particularly younger ones, but even a 1982 Château Margaux. Don’t just take my word for it, try it yourself.”

So we did!

I wanted to test which method of wine would yield the most delicious results for the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon: undecanted wine, traditionally decanted wine, or hyperdecanted wine.

To ensure that our preconceptions about decanting and hyperdecanting didn’t play a role, the tastings were done blind. Everyone tried all three wines, but they tried them in different orders and they didn’t know what version they were trying.

20 participants tried the wines, ranked them in order from least favorite to favorite, and offered their tasting notes. I then assigned each ‘favorite’ three points, each ‘second favorite’ two points and each ‘least favorite’ one point.
The hyperdecanted wine and the decanted wine were the best liked, receiving almost identical scores. However, they got very different comments from the tasters.

Although the hyperdecanted wine had the mildest tannins, participants reported a bitter, unpleasant taste. The traditionally decanted wine still displayed very strong tannins, but had a richer bouquet and fuller, more flavorful body and a more appealing mouthfeel.

Given these comments, it is clear that hyperdecanting does change the flavor of the wine significantly. However, it is NOT the equivalent of traditional decanting.

For individuals who appreciate bold red wines, traditional decanting will offer a much better product with more flexibility, since you can choose how long you decant the wine. Still, if you are very sensitive to tannins, you might want to give hyperdecanting a try on an inexpensive bottle of wine.

Pairing on Main, a benefit for the Providence St. Mary Cancer Center

granfondo3Walla Faces is excited to participate in the 8th Annual Providence St. Mary Gran Fondo: Pairing on Main. This event, created to benefit people with cancer, offers an amazing opportunity to taste dishes by some of Walla Walla’s best restaurants, paired with local wines. 100% of the proceeds go to the Special Needs Fund at the Providence St. Mary Regional Cancer Center in Walla Walla, which provides support ranging from medication to wigs to supportive undergarments for breast cancer patients. Join us on September 29, 2012 from 6-8:30pm for this inspiring celebration of our town that helps those of us most in need of assistance.

The Providence St. Mary Gran Fondo event is becoming a tradition, showing Walla Walla’s dedication to helping those in need. “Gran Fondo”, which means “the Great Ride” in Italian, is a European tradition that is perfectly captured when traveling across the beautiful eastern Washington landscape. The Pairing on Main, one component of the Providence St. Mary Gran Fondo, is the perfect way to admire the downtown area, getting the quintessential Walla Walla food and wine experience.

At each winery location, participants will have the opportunity to taste the wine and eat a small plate of perfectly paired food. Walla Faces will be matched with the Backstage Bistro.

backstage-bistroThe complete list of pairings includes:
Sapolil/Bistro15
Otis Kenyon/Green Spoon
Rotie Cellars/Brasserie Four
Chataeu Rollat/Aloha Sushi
DaMa Wines/the Marc
The Chocolate Shop/Bright’s Candy and Frosted
Sinclair Estates Vineyards/Graze
Walla Faces/Backstage Bistro

After the event, come back to Walla Faces and listen to our weekend music lineup. Ben Bullington, a Montana-based folk artist, will be playing in the Tasting Room until 9pm.

Tickets for the pairing on Main cost $40 each and can be purchased at the Cancer Center at 401 West Poplar St. They are only selling 150 tickets, so be sure to make your plans early!

In addition the Pairing on Main, Providence St. Mary has a series of other Gran Fondo events. More information about these can be found here.

Entry fees are half price for cancer survivors and for those who are still in treatment.

Not in Walla Walla? Alaska Airlines, who is sponsoring the event, is offering a special discount to get you to the Gran Fondo. Travel to Walla Walla via Alaska between September 26 and October 2 and get a 10% discount. For the discount, enter ECMU09 in the discount box.