Sunday, July 5, 2009

Boring wine and what to do about it

Have a boring wine (see the Rosenblum Syrah in the previous post)? Don’t just sit there, do something!

What can you do? Your imagination is your only limit. If the wine seems muted and inexpressive, decanting is worth a try. Don't have a decanter? Dig through your recycling to find an empty bottle. Rinse it out and then give it a tiny rinse of the wine in question before pouring back and forth. Aeration is key, so splashing is good, and a funnel can really help.

Nothing in your recycling bin? Try the Mollydooker Shake (tm, probably). Nevermind their explanation for it, just pour out a glass worth, and recork or put the screw back on. Shake vigorously. There will be bubbles. Open to release, and repeat 2-3 times (or as long as you want). Then pour out another glass and compare it to the one you poured out at the beginning. Better?

Or you can work on your blending skills. Have an unfinished bottle lying around? See what a combination of the two wines can do. If someone gave you a bottle you just aren’t that excited about, see if you can make both wines more exciting through blending in various proportions.

You needn't limit yourself to combining wines. You could make a mulled wine with spices and fruit you have on hand. Or add brandy, sparkling water, fruit juice, lavender.... The Ancient Greeks added all sorts of stuff to their wine, which they cut heavily with water (probably salt water).

Don't glumly drink your disappointing wine; take the opportunity to play and use your imagination to come up with something delightful. Please don't forget to share your discoveries!


  1. Salt water?! Gack.
    I am quite intrigued by the Mollydooker shake, though. Sounds quite scientific. But with drinking.

  2. The Mollydooker shake really can help. They claim that it sparges the wine of the nitrogen they bottle with, thereby opening aromas. We need to look into that, because we have heard that N2 also interferes with our perception of hops aromas in beers, which is why Boddington cans are so smooth and un-hoppy. But as an inert gas, we just cannot understand how this is so.

    In any event, the Shake will rapidly oxygenate any wine, which can help resolve truly aroma-numbing sulfides.

  3. Have you tried the Vinturi? Plastic funnel decanting thing, supposed to aerate the wine as you pour it through. Some friends I know say it works very well, and our reviewer at gave it a thumbs-up, but I haven't tried it.

  4. Thanks for the tip, Dylan. We don't own a Vinturi but many of the tasting rooms we have visited or been associated with have used them, especially for wines that are "too young" and need to open up. We imagine it would work along the line of a regular decanting, but the equipment is much smaller. That said, $40 seems pretty steep for the device.


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