jamie goode's wine blog: Ageing wine...fast!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Ageing wine...fast!

Long-time readers will probably remember the interesting interchange I had with Dr Patrick Farrell MW, after I posted on his magnetic wine ageing device (see here and for more comments here, although take less notice of some of the anonymous comments which could have come from anywhere).

It seems that the demand for wine ageing gadgets that operate outside the known laws of science has not yet been sated.

Take a look at Le Clef du Vin. One second = one year. Read for yourself! However, unlike Farrell's device, it doesn't claim to actually replicate the ageing of the wine. Instead, it reveals the ageing potential of the wine. How does it work? I don't think it can. Wine ageing is complex and poorly understood, and sticking a device in a glass for a limited period is unlikely to reveal too much information about its future trajectory.

Looking at the pictures of this gadget, and reading between the lines of the promotional blurb, I reckon this is a piece of copper mounted in a stainless steel support. The copper will address any reduction present, shifting the wine's redox potential towards the oxidation end of the spectrum. Ageing of wine is not simply oxidation.

The Advertising Standards Agency have this to say about claims made on behalf of this device.

Labels: ,


At 7:19 AM, Blogger Cru Master said...

finally, some insight into this damn device! I had my doubts when i first saw it, but this just cements that belief for me now.

you have to hand it to them though, it very nicely presented!

At 9:58 AM, Anonymous Doug said...

I suspect that this is another example of voodoo science, wherein people within the wine industry look for a magic bullet to solve problems that don't exist. Every time I open a wine mag I read claims for this, that and the other, as if wine was a patent medicine being presented by intellectual hucksters. Marketing, phoney surveys, cod science - what has this got to do with the product itself and where it comes from? Wine has indeed become an industry with all the baggage that that entails.

At 3:01 PM, Anonymous Shon said...

While it would be great to have such a neat device to stop me from buying expensive Burgundies that turn to soup with too much aging, I am afraid that I won't be starting with this device.

It's high time some science was applied to this. Consumers are far too reliant on the claims of merchants or winemakers notes (who obviously have a vested interest) about the potential aging of a wine. Yes, if I had the money, I would be able to buy 2 bottles of the same wine and drink one of them to make an educated guess at its potential, but my wallet doesn't usually stretch to that. OK, you could argue that it is part of the excitement of cellaring that you do not know how something will turn out after so and so years, but it should be more than mere guesswork that tannins will soften, or whatever.

At 3:06 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

I'm just waiting for the inventor to come and start abusing me viciously...would make good reading!

At 5:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'm just waiting for the inventor to come and start abusing me viciously...would make good reading!"

I am not the inventor but I am the owner of the image you have hotlinked to on your site - could you kindly save the image to your hard drive and upload to the blogger server.

Many thanks.

At 7:20 PM, Anonymous Doug said...

The ageing potential of wine is a vastly complex subject. What enables a wine to age well is a combination of many factors: tannin, acidity, fruit sugars and so forth, but also whether these components are in balance with each other, as well as other variables such as the condition of the cork, how well the wine has been stored etc. etc.

But when you should drink the wine is something entirely different and often a matter of personal taste. Some people prefer tannic wines, others like their wines with a good deal of maturity. Who is to say when anyone should drink a wine. Sometimes an old wine is delicious for half an hour and then suddenly expires in the glass. Conversely, I've often had young wines billowing with primary aromas and bursting with intense fruit, which close down after a period of exposure to air.

Finally, how often do we open wine and find that it changes from day to day? Answer: all the time! This is partly to do with the fact that wine is not a sterile, perfectible product (not yet, at any rate); it may be partly to do with atmospheric pressure or if you're a proponent of biodynamics, the diurnal rhythms of the Maria Thun calendar, but, most of all, it is as much to do with you, your mood, the company you're with and what you're eating. I can't see how any funky gadget can seriously reveal the ageing potential of wine, or its readiness to drink. Only your palate can really do that.

At 9:01 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Dear Anon, regarding the image, I've done as you asked. Sorry.

Others - it's interesting that while the device doesn't claim to 'age' the wine, this claim has been made by others. If ageing were simply a matter of oxidising wine components, then it would be possible to age a wine simply by decanting it and leaving it a day or two. While some young, tannic wines seem to taste a bit better the next day, most don't.

At 12:19 AM, Anonymous David Moed said...

Did you ever get and try the Dr Patrick Farrell MW device?
If I missed it when was it please.

At 10:16 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

No, nothing heard from Farrell. Perhaps I'll chase this up.

At 11:01 AM, Anonymous jerome said...

Dear Jamie and wine lovers,

My name is Jerome Poiret. I ended up here, through our South African distributor, Grapevine Concepts(michael@wineconcepts.co.za & bspencer@mweb.co.za).

Looks like your nice community needs a little more information about Clef du Vin.

I'm the manager of Clef du Vin and would be pleased to introduce you to our website: www.clef-du-vin.com, where you'll find a lot of information about Clef du Vin. (i.e. what it does, what it doesn't do, testimonials, lab tests report, scientifical explanation, inventors... and much more).

Clef du Vin is distributed in over 30 countries and sales are over 80,000 in little over than 2 years.

Feel free to ask any questions. If you're not in South Africa, you'll find the list of local distributors on the website.

Have a good day !


At 11:48 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

Thank you Jerome, for taking the time to contribute here.

My question: how does clef du vin work? Am I correct in guessing that there is a copper component to the alloy? Is it simply a matter of oxidation of wine components?

And how did you set about correlating 1 second exposure to 1 year of wine ageing?

At 8:17 PM, Anonymous Patrick said...

Hello everyone! I have worked as the U.S. Sales Manager for the Clef du Vin now for 3 years. Essentially, in a temperature controlled wine cellar, there are traces of metal in the air. Microscopic as they may be, they are part of what oxidizes wine over a period of time. With such thin traces, oxidizing takes as long as it does. Research by the Clef du Vin inventors identified these metallic traces, and their amounts. A concentrated form of the various metals exist in the tip of the Clef du Vin. It is a patented formula that is calibrated to equate one year of aging = one second! So, all that takes places in natural oxidation is happening with the clef du Vin, but at an accelerated rate. Tannin reduction, acidic mellowing, and the more pronounced flavors the winemaker intended for the drinker to enjoy. NO metals pass into the wine. The Clef du Vin is a catalyst, changing the product without itself changing or altering. In fact, the effectiveness of the Clef du Vin is guaranteed by the inventors for 20 years, stating it could last a lifetime with proper care.

Best wishes
Patrick Byrd

At 2:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow gold cheap wow gold buy wow gold world of warcraft gold wow world of warcraft wow gold WoW Warrior WoW Hunter WoW Rogue WoW Paladin WoW Shaman WoW Priest WoW Mage WoW Druid WoW Warlock power leveling powerleveling wow power leveling wow powerleveling wow guides wow tips google?? google???? google???? ???? ???? ???? ??? ?? LED? ?? ?? ??? ?? ?? ?? ???? ???? ???? ???? ???? ???? ???? ???? ???? powerlin518 logo design website design web design ????

At 4:31 AM, Blogger Greg_Dyer said...

Coming from a scientist's standpoint (but not a chemist's), the claim that the metal catalyzes a Red-Ox reaction is not at all unreasonable. Furthermore, oxidation is a large component of aging wine--wines have corks to allow a very slow, controlled oxidation to take place. Anyone who decants a wine is intentionally oxidizing it to some extent.

There is, however, a difference between a decanted wine and an aged wine. And I suspect this gadget is a bit like a calibrated decanter. It'll soften the tannins and acids like decanting should, but the long term reactions that take place slowly over years will not occur in one second. I doubt you'll find sediment in your glass after one second of aging.

The claim of fast oxidation is not at all unreasonable; it's intro level chemistry. I would be skeptical of the calibration and any more extravagant claims of instant aging. At any rate, I'll stick with my Vinturi. For a quick burst of oxidation that releases the bouquet (or even as an amusing placebo effect gadget), that's just fine.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home