In Japan, Hiroshi Tanaka has spent 15 years developing an electrolysis device that simulates the effect of ageing in wines. He claims that “in 15 seconds it can transform the cheapest, youngest plonks into fine old draughts as fruit flavours are enhanced and rough edges are mellowed.”
You can read this story called Premature ageing device that puts old wine in new bottles in today's edition of Times Online.
Mr Tanaka’s machine pumps wine and tap water into an electrolysis chamber where hydrogen and oxygen atoms are rearranged around the alcohol molecules witout diluting the wine. This is what would normally take place over years if the wine were ageing naturally.
Mr Tanaka sees different usages for his machine. First, it can be used to improve the quality of wine at the winery. In restaurants, it could instantly improve the taste of cheaper table wines. He also thinks that individual wine lovers will want to have a version of the machine at home to transform wines that need cellaring time and make them ready to drink sooner.
The Times tasting panel in Tokio tested the device on two wines:
The 2002 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Pinot Noir was crisp, fruity, lots of berry, silky, alcoholic nose with a light body and rated 2/5 before electrolysis.
After electrolysis, it tasted more subtle, more musty, lost its crisp, fresh fruitiness but far easier on the palate, heavier but less exciting and was rated 3/5.
The 2001 Le Haut-Médoc de Giscours Grande Réserve was a bit rough and acidic, with muscular tannins and non-distinct bouquet and rated 1/5 before electrolysis.
After electrolysis, it had more of a nose, more tobacco and fruit, a riper flavour, smoother finish and was rated 2.5/5.
Scary, isn't it?
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