November 11 2008
If you have ever been proven wrong, and taken delight in having your skepticism overcome, then you will appreciate this post about a wine accessory – a device that allegedly aerates wine using natural frequencies.
Um, yeah, I was skeptical, as well.
However, I received a Philip Stein Wine Wand that purports to, according the marketing wordsmiths (excerpted):
When placed into a bottle or glass of red wine, the Wine Wand accelerates the aeration process, allowing the wine to fully develop to its peak flavor in a fraction of the time it would usually take. Prior to its release, the Philip Stein Wine Wand has already prompted intrigue across the international food, wine, and luxury goods industries ...
… Known for integrating frequency technology into luxury timepieces, Philip Stein has incorporated similar technology into the Wine Wand. Using permanently embedded natural frequencies, one of them being oxygen, this accessory accelerates the aeration of the wine to its full flavor potential in just minutes.
After receiving counsel from Steve Heimoff and Alice Feiring about influence from pr reps., after my own little imbroglio called RockawayGate, I am, to say the least, not overly inclined to stick my neck out. Despite this ‘once bitten, twice shy’ mentality, I am going to go ahead and put myself out there to be hit by some more stones.
The Wine Wand is not magic, but you may think it is …
Any device that looks vaguely akin to an oral thermometer that claims to open up the nose of a wine and soften the tannins inside of three minutes, using “natural frequencies” has to be complete rubbish, right?
So I thought, too.
Hit this link to download and open up a PDF of the email exchange I had with Nia, the PR rep for the Wine Wand.
The darn thing is $325 so it is not cheap. It is being sold at Saks, Neiman Marcus and Fred Segal, stores that I frequent as often as we have lunar eclipses on the fifth Sunday of a month. For cost reasons alone, I picked it up to use it immediately.
Just the same, I did not go easy in my testing.
On Sunday afternoon, palate fresh, I selected a 2004 Caparone Aglianico - $14 retail - (an undrinkable oak monster unless it is decanted for 24 hours) and a 2004 Trader Joe’s Amarone - $14 retail - that politely suggested on the label that it be decanted for an hour before drinking.
I tried the Wine Wand first with the Caparone. Immediately uncorking and pouring into two fresh glasses, as per the instructions, I set the glasses more than three feet apart so the frequencies would not hit both of them and I dropped the Wine Wand into one for three minutes.
The difference was startling. Both glasses were still over-oaked, but the glass that had the Wine Wand was noticeably, demonstrably softer and more appealing. The glass that acted as the control had mouth-puckering astringency. The Wine Wand glass was much gentler and could actually be drunk. The nose, still forbidding, was showing some fruit whereas the untouched glass was all densely wound oak aroma.
The second bottle of wine, the Trader Joe’s Amarone, a flawed wine, with what appeared to be an oak dusting from oak chips on the surface of my pour into both glasses, merited the same Wine Wand treatment.
The Amarone that had the Wine Wand had a greatly expanded nose and the taste was far more expressive. It is still a crap, flawed wine, but definitely made significantly more enjoyable by the Wine Wand.
At this point, I was kind of freaked out. It was like watching a magic trick; you do not believe what you are seeing, but darned if it is not believable.
Immediately, I start to think about blogging about this and I realize that my one flaw was I did not do it blind. Psychologically, I could have been tricked, kind of like a magic trick where I am lulled into the suspension of disbelief.
Not being hasty, last night, I tested it blind with the aid of my wife. This time I went with a 2004 Winesmith Cabernet Franc -$20 retail -. Clark Smith, resident technological wine bogeyman, makes Winesmith wine and I knew that this wine was likely micro-oxed, de-alc’ed and God knows what else. I love a bit of irony, too. A little bit of “natural frequency” magic with a Clark Smith wine makes me smile in the ultimate inside, wine snob joke.
I pulled the cork and left the room as my wife, a virtual teetoler, did the pouring and the Wine Wand administration.
When I returned a few minutes later, I tasted through both glasses of the Cabernet Franc, the control and the Wine Wand glass; the nose of one glass immediately struck me. Instead of having to stick your nose in there to get a good whiff, one glass had expansive aroma’s jumping out the glass. The same glass with the big nose had a much silkier mouth feel and more impressive fruit.
Blindly, I guessed which wine had the Wine Wand in it. My wife, again, a relative teetoler, with the best palate in the house and wolf-like senses, could tell a marked difference in the two glasses, as well, after telling me I chose correctly.
At this point, I realize this sounds like an infomercial, but I swear, with God as my witness, that this damn thing works and I have absolutely zero, zilch, nada, nothing at stake for saying so.
For an untested blog post, see Hip Tastes by Courtney Cochran