So my good friend Bob who always loves to read, learn and share, discovered a new method of decanting that he read about in a book. It is called hyper-decanting. In short, you take a young wound-up red wine, put it in the blender for 30 to 60 seconds and bam! You now have a better or softer wine.
He shared his thoughts (of course) with our good friend Dionysus and out of curiosity, Dionysus donated a bottle of ’07 Ornelaia Masseto for Bob to experiment with. I am sure that most of you know Masseto, but for those who don’t, it is an Italian merlot that is right up there with any first or second growth Bordeaux from the right bank. So when Bob called me to share with him in this hyper-decanting trial I was there!
We poured two glasses of Masseto first before putting the remainder in the blender. This gave us something to compare the blended version with to see if there was any improvement. The 2007 Masseto was a good choice since it is still very young and tightly wound. I have to tell you, it was hard to watch Bob dump the wine in the blender and hit the button. He blended it for 45 seconds and it looked like a fruit smoothie when it was finished with a nice frothy head on it.
We first took a drink of the non-decanted version and what can I say? It was beautiful with it’s leather and tobacco notes along with layered flavors of black tea, currants and boysenberry. Very bright with a tannic grip on the finish, it showed all its youth and muscle. The hyper-decanted version was much different. It was definitely softer and more approachable. The Boysenberry notes were more prominent and it almost had a creamy texture to it. There were notes of tobacco but the leather element had disappeared. Notes of currant and cassis came through with a nice spice hit on the back side. Blending it did nothing to hurt the wine and it certainly made it easier to drink for a lot of folks.
I have to say, that I preferred the wine right out of the bottle because I love reds that are a little tannic with that old world feel to them. I can’t say that I disliked the hyper-decanted version because it was delicious. It did not lose it’s old world identity but it did get a little too creamy for my palate. Bob and I both agreed that both versions were good. Bob felt that the hyper-decanted version would be better with food since it wasn’t as over-powering. That was a very astute observation and I concur. However, if you are having any food with a heavy tomato base or with barbecue sauce on it, I believe the youthful Masseto would match up nicely.
I appreciate the opportunity to share in this experiment with such a great wine, and Bob and I learned a lot. I will not be the last time I try hyper-decanting and I believe the next bottle will be a youthful Barolo or Barbaresco or maybe a Chateauneuf du Pape. If you want to try this yourself, make sure you do it with a wine that has some guts to it. It will do no good to use this on your two buck chuck or Yellowtail cab/shiraz. I will give it a try myself and give you a report. For now use an old world style red that is somewhat tannic and needs some decanting. It will soften it up and allow it to express the fruit side of the wine.
My thanks to Dionysus once again for being so generous, and to Bob for including me in the experiment. Cheers! Stan The Wine Man