The Vinturi

Posted by J.R. Ewing | Sunday, March 28, 2010

While we, I mean I really am a beer drinker at heart, who doesn't like the supple flavor of a wine, expertly matched with the proper food, served at the right temperature, on a beautiful day in the garden (i.e. backyard). Well, that was me yesterday. Armed with a 3/4 lb. swordfish steak, some gulf shrimp, and asparagus, I decided to uncork a red to accompany. Conventional wisdom might have called for something of the white variety, but two factors came into play;

1) I was in the mood for a red
2) I wanted to "taste test" a new gadget...the Vinturi Red Wine aerator


I received the Vinturi for Christmas from the parents, who are always wondering what to buy the kids that have everything, and this was better than most (still haven't played Longhorn-opoly). All you ever wanted to know is at their website (www.vinturi.com), but the idea is that the ~$40 device aerates your wine better than it aerates naturally. Simply pour the wine through the Vinturi and in your glass pours aerated red wine. My cruise-savvy parents said it's all the buzz in the ships' dining rooms on cruises, passengers are whipping it out at the dinner table and usually summon a small group of curious observers when it's used.

So I decided to try it for myself. I've used it here and there since the Holidays, thought "hmmm, it is more airy" but not knowing how the wine would taste without it, wondered if a blind taste test would back up what I was thinking. So when I bought the swordfish yesterday, I perused the wine aisle for a red...with two conditions...one, I wanted a Texas Red (for the sole purpose of advertising Texas wines) and two, it had to be under $10, I like wine under $10 and figured if any wine might need the Vinturi, it would be on the less expensive end.

I went with an $8.99 "Ed's Red" from Twin Springs Winery in Tow, TX. Tow (pronounced like "cow") is about 90 miles NW of Austin on the north shore of Lake Buchanan. It appears Twin Springs (founded in 2000) keeps wines simple for the simple drinker, if their website is to be believed. It is a brand/subsidiary of the Fall Creek Vineyard founded in 1975.





The ground rules were set:
1) Wine was to be eaten with crackers and cheese only (not with the fish)
2) One Keebler multi-grain club cracker and a square of Kraft cheddar cheese before each sip. Nothing fancy.
2) At room temperature (no delta as time increases)
3) Two glasses (with under of coaster marked to distinguish) were used and rotated in circles until I couldn't remember which was which
4) A best of 7 series was conducted...drink the wine, state which I liked better (not the one I thought was more airy).

In Round 1, I sipped both and selected the wine that had not been through the Vinturi as superior. This being the first time my lips ever touched this wine, I thought my judgment might be skewed from the taste buds adjustment to the solid flavor.

The next three rounds, I picked the Vinturi wine. I thought, okay, I really can taste the difference here. If it were the World Series, it would be 3-1 headed to Game 5. Which went to the wine w/o Vinturi. The sixth round went to Vinturi (effectively winning the series,), but a 7th round was played anyway, to the wine w/o Vinturi.

So the final verdict, I chose the Vinturi-aerated wine 4 out of 7. A statistical wash. I picked the 1st wine (i.e. wine on the left tasted first) 3 times, the 2nd wine 4 times so it appears I wasn't biased by first or last flavor. The Vinturi aerated wine was tasted second 5 out of 7 times, just a factor of how many spins I did.

There are three hypotheses to support this outcome:
1) The Vinturi doesn't make a difference for all wines
2) Ed's Smooth Red is not the best wine for the Vinturi
3) The writer of this blog really doesn't know how to taste wine.

I would lean heavily on #3. I'm not a wine guy. I know a few that I prefer...which are mostly white. Stick to stock Merlot and Chianti when tasting reds.

So take it from me... the Vinturi is not a significant advancement in the tasting of Ed's Red wine in my kitchen with crackers and cheese. If that doesn't solve the world's problems, I don't know what does.

3 comments
  1. Arlene Chase March 28, 2010 at 1:20 PM  

    I wrote an article on why you need to aerate red wines.

  2. Just Saying March 28, 2010 at 3:57 PM  

    Arlene, if you wrote that article, then you better go tell Jim Chase to give you proper credit.

  3. SirRon March 28, 2010 at 4:07 PM  

    JR,

    Great post. In my opinion and experience, finer wines benefit more from aeration because they are typically more complex and aged longer (in better barrels too). I don't fancy myself an expert wine taster either, but I have been along for the ride on some fantastic bottle openings.