26 December 2011

26dec- be wary around the vinturi...
So there’s a thing out there and that has been out there for a while: the vinturi.
I’d like to share my opinions and experiences with this thing.
This device is presented as a wonder; a cure-all and panacea the likes of which snake-oil would be proud but it is not always the wisest recourse when pouring your wine.
Yes, I know that because of its reputation and perhaps some positive experiences there are people who will, taste untasted, pour their poor wine through this funnel like a frightened child through a waterpark slide and presume that a corpse won’t tumble lifelessly out the other side.
The vinturi forces air through the wine that is poured through it. The idea is that this sudden oxygenation will expedite the the subtle oxygenation for which time is usually responsible. This modern, impatient viewpoint can be beneficial in some walks of life but can also be detrimental in others.
Look at wine as (yes, it’s cliché) a flower. When bottled a wine could be thought of as rather like a flower bud. Within this bottle there exists a great deal of potential but it is wrapped up tight and safe. Only upon opening does this bottle have the opportunity to show itself for the flower it can be. (if it blossoms in the bottle it will surely be tired and faded by time it is opened.)
If one opens a simple young cab or young shiraz, wines that need time to relax (to blossom) then something as aggressive as a vinturi might surely pry open the petals of this flower and, given the simplicity (of let’s say a six-petalled daisy or a 3-petal trillium) one might very well be rewarded with a smoother, tamed wine. I have certainly experienced the rough-edged, simple offerings of a $10 California cabernet polished to palatability by the vinturi.
It is here that the doohickey shines.
However, I have sadly experienced the nuance and grace of a $mumble-mumble red Bordeaux ground under the heel of the vinturi. You see, the subtleties of delicate cedar spice can be stripped away by sudden and aggressive oxygenation. The delicate song of a truffled pinot noir can be obliterated by the over-eager dance of the vinturi. One cannot pry open all the layered petals of a carnation and not destroy the flower in the process. It may look like a flower when you’re done but it won’t have any of the natural beauty if would’ve had if you’d simply allowed it to blossom at its own pace.
It pains me to see the review page on the vinturi site. So many accolades that could be entirely accurate but that ignore that fact that this powerful device can be used for evil and this risk shouldn’t be ignored.
I have cautioned against the use of this machine in baan sawan. I have one, yes. Its use is novelty to me but I’m not ashamed to have one perched in the wings. Delicate wines don’t need this gadget.
Somebody suggested this weekend “but what about a nice, aged wine.”, as though a superior wine would surely improve by coursing it through this thing. I told him it would be like punching an old man. He countered that a mutual acquanitance regularly ran very expensive bottles through it.
I am not going to tell anybody how to enjoy their wines. That is by no means my place and if someone gets more enjoyment from running it through a vinturi or drinking it while playing nina simone (a personal favorite) or serving it from $80 glasses or from the high heels of a sex symbol then it’s not my place to say that isn’t more enjoyable for them. But I can say that, given my tastes, experiences, and given the physical structure of some wines, the vinturi can do more harm than good.
Nothing is a cure-all. Nothing works under the promise of “perfectly blah blah.” It’s like a menu that says their steak is ‘grilled to perfection’. I hate to say it but those words mean nothing. Value judgments of good and bad work most efficiently in your own tasting notes but mean little when discussing how other people are likely to enjoy something.
“Is this wine good? Is this wine bad? Is this wine better through a vinturi” I honestly couldn’t tell you how you will feel about it. But I can tell you if I like it or if I don’t or if I feel as though the vinturi has throttled the life out of a potentially nuance driven red vaucluse. And if I’ve known you for a little while and supplied you with enough wine I might be able to extrapolate from what I know of you enough to tell you if you might or might not like something.
But don’t let a generality or a review define how you approach your enjoyment of something. Decide for yourself.
If nothing else, always test what goes through your vinturi with a small pour.

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