Tiny Bubbles

This is an odd name for a red wine perhaps making one think that this is a sparkling wine. It is not sparkling. The “tiny bubbles” refer to mere micro pin pricks of oxygen that mature wine. It is a process called “micro oxygenation”. Even though the bubbles of oxygen are microscopic, they are massive engines for driving wines to silky smooth maturity. Wine will complex and gather depth when exposed to oxygen but only when it is introduced in super-controlled, trace amounts. “Bulk” or open type (wine surface is open to the air) of oxygenation will age a wine too rapidly and spoil it. Now we all do “open” oxygenation when we decant wine or have a glass of wine. It’s OK at that point because we are consuming the wine right away. You know that if you come back to a glass of open wine a number of hours after pouring it, the wine’s taste and nose are diminished in a big way. Still, we do need the oxygen (again, in very trace amounts) to mature wines while they are being stored.

As the winemaking centuries have shown, oak barrels do this micro oxygenation naturally. The barrels “breathe” allowing trace amounts of oxygen to enter through the barrel and into the wine. We have enjoyed the benefits of oak barrel aging for a thousand years but did not really understand what was happening. In days past they thought it was just the wood doing some magic. Do remember that old barrels that do not give up any oak flavour still offer the magic of maturing wine with the natural “micro oxygenation”. It’s the oxygen and not the wood.

So, it’s all about the “tiny bubbles” of oxygen when it comes to maturing wine. How do we get these microscopic specs of oxygen into the wine in the most efficient way? With our advancing technology we’ve been able to simulate the barrel’s “micro breathing” and it may be applied to wines in large stainless steel tanks. We use cylinders of medical grade oxygen that are connected to a micro-porous stone within the stainless steel tank to add the “tiny bubbles”. You must remember that the addition is so minute that you cannot physically see any bubbles but the job is being done. If the process takes place too fast or without great skill and knowledge, one can turn thousands of liters of delicious wine into a bad, oxidized sherry in minutes. To imagine the the process; “Mechanical micro-oxygenation” is a fine, fine scalpel that should only be used by the most highly trained, skilled and knowledgeable surgeon (winemaker).

The result of the mastery of this tool is superior, matured red wines at bottling that are easily affordable and accessible sooner. Why more affordable? To get the results of barrel age without the use of a barrel saves hundreds of thousands of dollars in barrel costs, the labour to fill and empty the barrels and the time it takes for the process to happen naturally in the barrel. There are savings all around and that is why the Game Changer reds taste so good and mature at such a value price. If we used barrels to get the same taste, we would have to charge at least double if not more for the same wine. Enjoy!