Drinks

Maturing Wine in 5 Minutes Seems Impossible, But Is It?

December 18, 2015

I’m a skeptic by nature.

It’s not that I don’t want to believe, but I need to get there in my own way. So when I skimmed the website of the Elevie and saw claims of transformation—specifically “condensing years of maturing into minutes”—the skeptic in me smirked.

How could this little piece of Silicone really transform my glass of wine—and in in five minutes, no less?

Photo by Mark Weinberg
Photo by Bobbi Lin

I knew that in order to truly avoid bias, a double-blind test was needed. Luckily my neighbor Angelo happened to pop in that night and he became my trusty research assistant, compensated in wine.

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The wine we decided to test was a Côtes Du Rhône (Valréas “Cuvée Prestige”), purchased for under $7 at Trader Joe’s. I stepped out of the room and Angelo poured two glasses of wine and affixed the Elevie to one of them. Five minutes and 10 seconds later, Angelo removed the Elevie and I returned to the room. The suspense was killing me (and I was pretty thirsty).

Photo by James Ransom

I tasted the first wine. The aromas of blackberries, earth, and spices jumped out of the glass. The wine was smooth and the tannins were present yet well integrated. It was a perfectly drinkable, even enjoyable, glass of wine.

I tasted the second glass and immediately noticed a difference. The aromas and flavors were the same, but there was a firmness and dryness that wasn’t present in the first glass, which seemed a bit more polished. It was clear that this wine was the control and the first glass had had the Elevie.

Photo by James Ransom
Photo by James Ransom

My handy research assistant confirmed my conclusion. The first wine tasted like it had been decanted. It wasn't completely transformed, but there was a difference that was noticeable and preferable.

So what did this little piece of Silicone actually do and how does it work? The Elevie ultimately enhanced the flavors of the wine through an unusual form of maturation.

But let's break that statement down.

Photo by James Ransom

When I say that it "enhanced the flavors of the wine,” I mean that the tannic red wine became softer and smoother; when a light red is enhanced, on the other hand, it becomes more flavorful.

And “maturation of wine” is simply the act of wine changing over time, which can happen in the bottle, in a decanter, or even in your glass. Typically, it's the wine’s interaction with air that causes its characteristics to evolve. Decanters spread wine out over a large surface area, a design that’s meant to expose the liquid to the maximum amount of air.

The Elevie, however, works in a completely different way. According to the company:

Various wavelengths along the electromagnetic spectrum such as UV rays and visible light exist all around us. When these energy waves come into contact with the Badge, the proprietary material within the Badge acts as a catalyst that absorbs these energy waves and emits them as condensed infrared. The infrared then enters the wine and stimulates the wine molecules (such as acid, phenols, and sugar) into colliding against each other at an extremely rapid pace, causing chemical reactions. Reducing what normally occurs over lengthy periods of time, without stimulation, into minutes.”

While the Elevie can be used on any type of wine, red wines that are young and could benefit from smoothness and softness are the most eligible candidates. You’re best bet is to taste the wine: If it feels a bit too tannic or dry, then either decant it or use your Elevie.

Photo by Mark Weinberg
Photo by Mark Weinberg

For $29.99, is the Elevie worth it? I appreciate that it can be used hundreds of times and that it works fast. As one who loves her wine gadgets it’s hard to say no to the Elevie, and it will make a great gift for the wine lover in your life.

However, my inner-skeptic wants to point out that my decanter works just as well, although not as fast. So if you are impatient and have 30 bucks burning a hole in your pocket: Go for it.

Are you convinced enough to try the Elevie? Tell us in the comments!

2 Comments

tom R. December 18, 2015
Interesting to see a product but not how to get it. Not very smart marketing. Seems to run throughout the material published. Why? I see failure coming.
 
ChefJune December 18, 2015
Interesting piece. I've been in the wine industry for more than 20 years. My first question is why would you bother to "age" a $7 wine? It wasn't meant to be "aged" in the first place. I guess I'm "Old school," because I'm more than wary of all these crazy gimmicks on the market these days.