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17 December 2009 @ 05:37 pm
Can you aerate wine by shaking it?
I'm feeling: unsophisticated
Chicken  Fried Jochickenfried_jo on December 17th, 2009 10:41 pm (UTC)
you can but you can also bruise it that way.
it's better to just open the bottle and let it sit for twenty minutes to half an hour
or pour gently into a pitcher.
motive nuance: spidermotive_nuance on December 17th, 2009 11:09 pm (UTC)
Depends on how it started out. I very rarely drink any wine that isn't either 'pre-bruised' due to being quite young to begin with, or bruised due to having been recently transported to the store and then to my place. If I bought well-aged wine that I knew had been treated well, I'd be much more careful about letting it sit around for a while. But the clever little aeration devices that a number of my friends use are almost as likely to bruise a wine as a good shaking.
Similarly for sediment. If you have a good red that you know has been treated gently for a few months, then it's probably settled quite a bit, and would benefit from a gentle decanting.
But if you just bought a young red wine from the store and it seems a bit harsh, by all means shake the hell out of it. A couple of my friends and I did a (single blind) experiment on this once, and determined that while it was clearly better to just let it breathe for a bit, if you're in a hurry, shaking can give a better result than not.
veek on December 18th, 2009 12:06 am (UTC)
Wine Spectator seems to think that "bruising is a myth." What say you?
Chicken  Fried Jochickenfried_jo on December 18th, 2009 12:12 am (UTC)
you know, I guess I'm old skool. I don't tend to agitate wine, generally. Maybe if it's young and has a lot of alcohol vapors, I'll decant and let it mellow a bit.
motive nuance: tanglemotive_nuance on December 18th, 2009 03:58 am (UTC)
Bruising is no more a myth than is aging. There's a fairly readable piece covering some of the biochemistry of aging red wine here, and a somewhat more technical source here.

When the juice comes out of the grape (assuming it was stemmed properly), the tannins that are present are mostly flavonoids (like the anthocyanins that give the wine its color). These have the astringent mouth-feel that's also present in tea, because they bind proteins. They're present in much higher concentrations in immature fruit, making it mouth-destroyingly bitter until the seeds are mature. Later, they serve as antioxidants that protect the fruit from rapid oxidation (like the browning of a cut apple, and are also key for the tenderizing and flavor-release effects that red wine has on stewing beef. Oaking wine introduces a simpler kind of tannin that's more reactive both with oxygen and protein, helping the wine age better, but also making it more astringent when young.

The tannins in the wine slowly chain together over time. Some of the bonds are the non-reversible covalent polymerizations that slowly fade the wine from the vivid opacity of a young red to the more tawny, translucent hue of a more mature vintage. But others are weak hydrogen bonds. These decrease the number of active sites that make the wine feel astringent, and slightly increase viscosity. They form pretty fast, compared to the polymerization, but are easily broken by, e.g., light, heat, fluid shear, or strong language.
Boring Nerdsignsoflife on December 18th, 2009 04:33 am (UTC)
What is going on with "bruising", then?
motive nuance: whiskmotive_nuance on December 18th, 2009 04:35 am (UTC)
Shear forces in the liquid whack the shit out of the hydrogen bonds. It's like putting jello in a blender.
Boring Nerd: gradingsignsoflife on December 18th, 2009 04:37 am (UTC)
I see, that was the point of your final sentence. Pardon me, speaking of jello, my brain seems to have turned into it.
motive nuance: awesomemotive_nuance on December 18th, 2009 04:42 am (UTC)
Mmmm, brain jello.

Good stock (e.g., the duck stock I made on Monday), has analogous properties.
Haptotropehaptotrope on December 17th, 2009 10:53 pm (UTC)
as long as the wine consents.
blkblk on December 17th, 2009 10:54 pm (UTC)
You can also help distribute the sediment that way (if existent).
T Streichsweetbaboo on December 17th, 2009 11:41 pm (UTC)
"It", or the wine?
ruthless compassion: laughteraroraborealis on December 17th, 2009 11:54 pm (UTC)

Wait, could I make my wine taste better by shaking it? And here, I mean it. Could I hire myself out as a wine-improvement device?
veek on December 18th, 2009 12:06 am (UTC)
You'd totally succeed as a wine-improvement device.

(Can you tell I don't know anything resembling the answer to your question?)
harimad on December 18th, 2009 03:02 am (UTC)
What is this "it" of which you speak?
BOB!!: Traincruiser on December 18th, 2009 07:54 pm (UTC)
It's not that the wine will taste better, it's that if enough shaking of it is going on, nobody's going to actually notice how the wine tastes.
Mouseketeer Stigmatatrom on December 18th, 2009 12:43 am (UTC)
You can asperate it by inhaling at the wrong time....