Putting wine in a blender—let’s call it “aggressive decanting”—is an old winemaker’s trick to simulate how the wine would taste after aging. It can make a cheap wine taste better, but only to a degree.
How does decanting work? First, most of what you experience in wine is its aromas. When the compounds that create these aromas hit oxygen, they fully release for your nose to detect.
Oxygen also mellows tannins, molecules from the oak your wine is aged in, which make wine bitter.
Of course, if you’re patient, a more practical alternative to using a blender is to empty the bottle into any container—decanter, pitcher, bucket—that will maximize air contact with the surface, splash it around, then let it sit for half an hour. (Don’t want to serve from a bucket? Funnel it back into the bottle.)
Decanting is really for rare wines that have been cooped up in a bottle five-plus years and need to be woken up. So, your $8 bottle of cab? It won’t turn into a 90-pointer, but it will be more appealing.
Jeffrey Schiller is the author of Wine Hack: Wine Education That Starts With Your Mouth, Not With Your Head. Find him on Twitter.