Microwaving Wine


The microwave, invented by Percy Spencer shortly after World War II, was originally named the “Radarange.”

So it was a bit of a surprise when a taster suggested to do a ten second nuke on a glass of too cold wine.

Microwaves work by sending quickly fluctuating waves through food. Any food molecules that are polarized (think AA batteries: negative charge on one side, positive on the other) will try to align themselves with the wave but because it is moving so quickly, that alignment turns instead into a spin. The energy it takes to spin, produces heat. Water has high polarity so it starts spinning quickly.

It leads me to believe that with enough time, this spinning and heat would lead to new bonds and volatilization of some desired aromas and personality.

Someone out of France’s Languedoc-Roussillon region agreed with me but assumed that some good could come of it (different from my assumption).

Flash Detente (accents belong on that word but I’m blogging by phone so this is the best I can do) is a recently invented process by which wine must is heated to 180 degrees F and quickly cooled to 82 degrees F and sent down a vacuum chamber to contain alcohols and important phenolic volatiles. The idea is to use extreme heat to break down grape skin cell walls, extracting more goodies from the grapes while nuking off methoxypyrazines- known for grassy, vegetal and spicy aromas.

Opponents to the process, of which there are many, claim a cotton candy aroma to the finished product. Proponents are in love.

It is seldom used because it sounds insane and irreversible. I guess that could be said for both the good and bad in life.

Have a great weekend. Ashley