I saw an advertisement for something called "Clef du Vin". It's a teardrop-shaped piece of metal alloy that when dipped into a glass of wine is supposed to replicate the aging process.

Has anyone heard of this, and does it work?
Original Post
quote:
Originally posted by Chazz Reinhold:
Does this sound like the sort of thing that would be true? Sounds a bit far fetched, to me.

They lost a court case in the UK about those claims:
http://www.asa.org.uk/asa/adjudications/non_broadcast/A...djudication_id=40006

Thanks Chazz. I've never believed this s*it and its good to see somthing exposed. Now, I just have to ignore those who tell me "it really works." I don't think they have every tasted wine that has proper age to it.
I'm going to take the other side here, Sid_Mac. I had never heard of the thing until last night, when I was at the Angus Barn in Raleigh, NC, which is a Wine Spectator Grand Award winner. There, the waiter mentioned it and I was very skeptical. Then he demonstrated it. We had a good cabernet (sorry, but I forgot which wine it was -- the third of three different bottles) and he poured some into a tasting glass as the "before" sampling. Then he poured a regular glass and he used the Clef du Vin in it. I was amazed at the difference. Then, at our request, he stirred the remainder of the bottle (in the decanter) with it. The difference was obvious. I didn't know why it worked but, for this bottle, it did as advertised. It's almost as though it were some sort of trick but the wine program at this restaurant has a stellar reputation.

I read the Brittish case link provided by Chazz. I noticed that the findings do not refute the manufacturer's claims but merely find that they were not substatiated sufficiently to allow the advertisement to stand. The findings acknowledged that the manufacturer proved that the device increased the wine's sensitivity to oxidation but failed to prove the significance of the oxidation process.

I ain't no scientist but I do have taste buds and olfactory senses and, for the bottle I drank last night, the Clef du Vin certainly made a difference just like they said it would -- the wine tasted several years older than it did in the "before" tasting. I would try to find such a demo somewhere near you.
quote:
We had a good cabernet (sorry, but I forgot which wine it was


You can't even remember the wine you drank, and we're supposed to trust your palate? Confused

I am also interested in the answer to the glass question posed by SD. If the glasses were in any way different, the comparison is invalid, palate notwithstanding.

PH
quote:
You can't even remember the wine you drank, and we're supposed to trust your palate?


Sorry, PurpleHaze, but the meeting was quite involved in other matters at the time and the selection was left to a trusted associate. We collectively considered several California cabernets from a very extensive list before casting my vote for "any of those" and turning my attention elsewhere. Actually, I thought I saved the cork from that bottle but I also can't find that at the moment. It was a long night. I'll endeavor to find the answer.

As to the glass size and shape, point taken. The glasses were of similar shape but different sizes. What I called a tasting glass was smaller, perhaps half-scale, so factors of surface area and air exposure would have been different, though the amount poured was relatively small as well, so the ratio of volume to exposure might have been even better. For what it's worth, the bottle had been decanted for about 30 minutes at the time of the first sample. It is interesting, though, that they did not use identical glasses to limit the variables to only that of the introduction of the Clef du Vin vs. the absence thereof.

But I am not ready to accuse them. Perhaps they did it as a valid compensation. If the glasses had been identical, wouldn't the pour amounts have had to have been close to the same as well? The intention was that the "before" amount would be just a taste and the "after" amount would be a full pour for continued enjoyment. Perhaps the small taste in the larger glass would have been misleading. I'm inquiring, not explaining. I want to learn something here.

While all of this undoubtedly has merit, I do have the advantage of my own subjectivity in a first-hand test and I believe the difference was substantial enough to credit the device at least to a degree. My palate is not as refined as those of most readers here but I am capable of some discernment. Again, please note that the referenced British adjudication cited, "The Authority noted that the advertisers had proved that the product made wine more sensitive to oxidation." Is that significant? After all, what is the underlying theory surrounding the concern over different glass sizes and shapes?

I will try this test again but the restaurant is the only one I know of that has a Clef du Vin and that is willing to lend its use so I have to dine or lounge there again after some personal monetary replenishment.

I'll report back with results of a better-controlled experiment (same palate, though) when it happens. Meanwhile, if I figure out the wine in question from the first time, I'll let you know ... and I'll take better notes next time, PH.
DanP, since the glasses were similar shapes, the issue isn't surface area for the wine but volume within the bowl. The olfactory senses have a significant impact on how the wine tastes as well, so a larger bowl gives a better wiff as you're drinking.

I don't think it would have any impact on the tannins in the wine, though. Do you recall if the tannins were similar in the two glasses, but the wine in the larger glass just tasted bigger and better?

If you're going to retry this experiment, I'd recommend that the same glass be used for both pours, both should be standard pours, and you shouldn't know which glass is which when tasting.
Not to pile on to Dan, but aging wine is complex chemistry that scientists don't fully understand. How can a metal ball replicate this?

quote:
... he poured some into a tasting glass as the "before" sampling.
... he poured a regular glass and he used the Clef du Vin in it.
...he stirred the remainder of the bottle (in the decanter) with it.


I'd venture a guess that the decanting of the wine had a lot to do with it (as did the differing glasses).
quote:
Originally posted by mwagner7700:
How can a metal ball replicate this?


As any middle school science teacher will tell you, never underestimate what the right combination of metals can do when exposed to an acid solution. Smile

Anyway, I've never experienced this gadget personally. (Nor do I have enough experience with wine--particularly very old wine--to have likely been able to tell you much even if I did.) But, from what I've read, there's some sort of chemical reaction going on with certain components of the wine and alloys in the "key".

Whether that reaction is a viable substitute for the naturally occurring reactions of the real aging process is a whole 'nother matter.

Interesting, one Amazon reviewer claims to have gotten similar results with a clean copper penny.

- Jeff
SD-Wineaux: Perhaps your explanation of the shape of the glass and volume of wine within the bowl lends credence to the rationale of using a scaled-down version of a similar glass for a scaled-down pour. At restaurant wine list prices, a standard pour of this particular wine would probably have cost in the $10-15 range and, since it was wine that we (not they) ordered and paid for, they probably would have presumed that we wouldn't have wanted to "spend" a standard pour on the "before" condition. Perhaps the thinking was that a proportional, miniaturized bowl/volume scenario was appropriate, considering the cost of the wine. Just more speculation on my part, though. I will return there with a better education, thanks to all of y'all. Your third paragraph is the prescription I'll follow next.

I don't think OffNotes is off the mark. By the way, I don't know about using a shiny new penny but I will tell you that the metallic disc, which is composed of a secret blend of alloys, happens to be mostly copper-like in color. Not to keep raising the same point but, in an environment of legal challenge, the findings were that the product indeed made wine more sensitive to oxidation. That could only be proven definitively through molecular examination so there is real science behind at least that aspect of it. The only question is what that oxidation means to the taste of the wine. We have decanters and aerators designed specifically to maximize the wine's exposure to oxygen. If a device, through whatever means, can heighten a wine's sensitivity to oxidation (as was found by the British court to be proven), shouldn't that, by definition, be a good thing?

To clarify for mwagner7700, the bottle was poured into the decanter about a half-hour before the first tasting, which was then poured from the decanter into the smaller glasses. The second tasting, also poured form the decanter, occurred a few minutes after the first tasting. I have known the quality of a decanted bottle of wine to improve from first glass to last in the course of consuming it in one sitting (say, over an hour or so) but the time lapse between first tasting and second in this demonstration was only a few minutes.

To SD-Wineaux's question of "Do you recall if the tannins were similar in the two glasses, but the wine in the larger glass just tasted bigger and better?": The second ("after") glass was definitely mellower and smoother. That was the first thing immediately noticeable -- less of a bite -- before considering the actual taste, which I also thought was distinctly better.

I understand any of you having skepticism but I would suggest that you not let it keep you from trying the do-hickey if you get the opportunity.
Not sure if this thread is still alive ?

I came across this device in a local mag and went to the manufacturer's web site to get an understanding of what it does and have the following observations on this thread:

1 They do not claim that it will age a wine but only that it will alter some of it's components such that you can better judge if the wine is suitable for laying down for 1, 2 3 etc. years.

2 The advert that was disallowed made claims that are not on the manufacturer's web site and implied that by using this device you could actually age the wine.

I wondered if any of the forum members have purchased one of these units.

If this product works it would help me as I really enjoy a good well aged red but aren't much good at judging a young wines laying-down potential
quote:
Originally posted by NJ Cabbie:
Gary Vaynerchuk has something to say about this topic. This is very interesting, he gives the clef a major pazzz, on the basis that a white zin wouldn't age well over a 50 year span.



http://tv.winelibrary.com/2007/07/12/clef-du-vin-goes-u...nd-more-episode-274/



I saw the same show. I also have a product I was asked to try. I guess it makes a two buck chuck taste like a six buck chuck. I have not purchased a wine to try it with yet, but I bet someone has mentioned it here on the forum somewhere. It might work something like the clef-du-vin
Hello Everyone!

Many interesting things being shared about the Clef du Vin here. Hopefully I can put all your fears and concerns to rest with the truth about the product.

I am the U.S. representative for Clef du Vin International. I have worked with the inventors for 4 years now, watching them enjoy $4.5 million in Clef du Vin sales throughout the European and International community. Much of this is the result of the right information being readily available in the European and Asian markets, before it reaches us. Here's our chance to be informed.

The inventors of the Clef du Vin, renowned sommelier Franck Thomas and chemist Laurent Zanon began a study of the climate and elements of a temperature-controlled wine cellar. With highly sensitive electronic equipment, metallic elements were identified in the air. After continued testing, it was found that these elements did directly influence the natural breakdown of wine preservatives over time.

the research period identifying the metals lasted three years. A second period of research, lasting SEVEN years, focused on concentrating these metals into a small mass that could make direct contact with the wine. With a higher concentration of the metals, than was discovered in the air, naturally the breakdown of preservatives would occur at a much more accelerated rate.

The metals, by the way, are a combined patented formula, but FAR more developed than the simple assumption of 100% copper as found in a penny. Also, much like stirring coffee with a spoon, the metals remain INTACT and DO NOT bleed into the wine.

So, to continue, the goal of our scientists was to create a calibration that wine drinkers could rely on. After the reserach of effects, degrees of effect, etc..after 7 years the calibration effect was complete. A formula was created with the metallic compound to accelerate the breakdown of preservatives ONE YEAR PER SECOND.

In short, for each second the metallic compund makes contact with the wine, it is equivalent to one year of "aging " or the breakdown of the preservatives.

The breakdown of the preservatives ( tannins, etc ) reveal the true qualities of the wine. If the wine is a poor choice, the Clef du Vin will reveal just that. If the wine is a good choice, and responds well to aging, the Clef du Vin will reveal that also. Results depend on the quality of the wine product. In essence, you can't polish a bad apple, or grape in this case.

I remember setting up the account at the Angus Barn in Raleigh, NC. Henk Schuitemaker, the Wine Director, and I are friends. He would gladly walk anyone thorugh a demonstration. I recommed to ANYONE with doubts, truly go through the demonstration.

Testing reports are available, from the University of Bordeaux, comparing two wines of the same label. One was a young vintage, the other was an older vintage, again of the same label. When the younger vintage was treated with the Clef du Vin for X seconds ( or "years" in the One Second = One Year equation ), the results were 99.6% accurate the older wine label aged X amount of years older than the younger label.

The debunking I have seen about this product comes from critics " looking " for a chink in the armor, or wine drinkers who have not truly experienced the product. Those who have tried it and had minimal results, soon realized their wine of choice truly did not have any aging ability. To age a White Zinfandel or Beaujolais Nouveau would be wine suicide. Neither style ages well, and thus would be ruined by the Clef. I would have hoped Vaynerchuck had enough wine experience to know White Zins do not age.

The Clef du Vin is a powerful tool that REPLICATES the aging process. it is designed for tannic Reds ( Cabs, Merlots, and especially Bordeaux wines) , acidic Rieslings, and ageworthy Chardonnays. ANY wine that has aging qualities can become more rounded in bouquet and flavor with the Clef.

I can be reached anytime at ideasinwine@cox.net for questions or requests for the product. I became invested in the product, in time and money, after its results with a Cabernet in Bermuda. I have not regretted it ever, and continue to amaze people in daily wine demonstrations.

An owner of a Clef has two choices
1.Enjoy and age-worthy wine NOW, without the wait.

2. Or, if wine is purchased by the case, crack one bottle and test it's ageability withthe Clef. This will tell you with accuracy how long to lay down your wines for natural aging.

Best regards
Patrick A. Byrd
Clef du Vin International
ideasinwine@cox.net
www.clef-du-vin.com
quote:
The metals, by the way, are a combined patented formula, but FAR more developed than the simple assumption of 100% copper as found in a penny. Also, much like stirring coffee with a spoon, the metals remain INTACT and DO NOT bleed into the wine.



Sounds like someone didn't take any chemistry classes in high school or college. I especially liked the part where he mentioned the dollar amount sold so far as if that is supposed to add credibility. Your post made me roll my eyes hard enough that I now have a eye-ache.
Someone needs to remind that moron from Ideasinwine that the corks prevent any air with these mysterious and unidentified "metallic elements" from entering the bottle.

We could go on from that to the percentage of wine in the glass that could possible be exposed to the metallic element on the Crackerjack prize sold as the Clef du Vin. Any thought of the potential chemical reactions and how they could possibly do anything to improve wine is clearly beyond both the people who would buy such a device and those who sell it.

In terms of dollars taken from the scientifically illiterate, this does not begin to compare with the sugar pills and "enhanced water" sold by Mannatech. Happily, that company has started to lose money after years of successful scamming.
Got this device a few months ago.
What it does:
It definately changes the wine.
It softens the tannins.
It softens the acid.

What it does not:
It does not make the aromas evolve like if the wine was aged in a cellar.

As a result:
It is helpful to evaluate the evolution of the tannins and acid in a wine.
It should not be used to 'age' a wine before serving it at diner, the result would never be the same as aging in a cellar.
quote:
Originally posted by MoselleLuxemburg:
Got this device a few months ago.
What it does:
It definately changes the wine.

What it does not:
It does not make the aromas evolve like if the wine was aged in a cellar.

As a result:
It is helpful to evaluate the evolution of the tannins and acid in a wine.
It should not be used to 'age' a wine before serving it at diner, the result would never be the same as aging in a cellar.
It's called the placebo effect....... Roll Eyes
quote:
Originally posted by Gigond Ass:
quote:
Originally posted by MoselleLuxemburg:
Got this device a few months ago.
What it does:
It definately changes the wine.

What it does not:
It does not make the aromas evolve like if the wine was aged in a cellar.

As a result:
It is helpful to evaluate the evolution of the tannins and acid in a wine.
It should not be used to 'age' a wine before serving it at diner, the result would never be the same as aging in a cellar.
It's called the placebo effect....... Roll Eyes


I assure you the change is very noticable, no placebo.
quote:
Originally posted by sayheykid:
quote:
I assure you the change is very noticable, no placebo.


I assure you, the only real change being felt is your wallet being lightened slightly. If you enjoy it, though, then it's served its purpose. To each their own.


How can you claim it does not change the wine when you obviously have not tried it ? I have tried it on multiple occasions and it cleary does affect the wine.
Does it improve the wine? Now that's a totally different question.
Well now, how exactly does the "magical world of science" prove that sticking a piece of metal into a glass of wine will not affect that wine?

This isn't to say that I'm trying to support either the distributor's or Moselle's claims. While I personally have never tried a Clef du Vin, I'm highly sceptical about the aging claims and find IdeasinWInes' account of the development process to be nonsensical. However, I do find it much easier to accept that this thing is doing something to the wine. I just don't expect that it's anything good, so I don't really care to try it myself.
quote:
Originally posted by sayheykid:
quote:
How can you claim it does not change the wine when you obviously have not tried it ? I have tried it on multiple occasions and it cleary does affect the wine.



Because I understand how the magical world of science works.


Your understanding of the magical world of science should tell you there is something called 'catalyst' in chemistry, namely a substance whose presence can accelerate certain chemical reactions. Copper could very well act ass a catalyst for chemical reactions in a wine.
A Google search: Copper Wine Age
gives the following interesting link:

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/EP1405903.html

So it seems the device is made of 95% Copper, 3% Silver and 2% Gold.
The metals are said to have an Oxydo-reductive effect. (which is the primary type of reaction in aging wine)
The document also indicates Copper and Silver capture the sulfur contained in the sulfites that are found in the wine. That process is said to 'liberate the aromas of the wine'.
quote:
Originally posted by vin:
I guess a good question for MoselleLuxemburg is do you like the changes it causes? Noticed that you stated that it does alter the wine but not if you enjoy them.


Softening a young wine with agressive tanins is a pleasurable effect, nevertheless i would not use the device to soften a wine before serving it at a meal for instance, just like i would not add a piece of sugar to an acidic wine.
The effect on the aroma is more neutral: it changes the aroma but it does not really compare to an aged wine.
It is a nice toy to play around at a wine tasting event or when evaluating the aging capabilities of a young wine, it does not replace true aging.
At 25$ i would recommend it to any wine enthousiast, at 99$ i cannot really recommend it. Maybe an interesting investment for a wine tasting club.
Moselle,

Several claims are made in the patent application that are dubious at best.

#1. The claim that the copper alloy catalyzes a reaction with the sulfur based compounds is not backed up by identifying any specific reaction or reactions.

#2. The claim that these (unidentified) reactions are the same or similar to those that occur in natural aging is not supported.

#3. The claim that the result of these (unidentified) reactions frees up aromas is not supported, although it is known that some compounds in wine become volatile when oxidized.

The most obvious negation of the claims comes from the fact that a catalyst has to have direct contact with a compound for the desired reaction to occur. How long do you think it would take for the little alloy drop to contact a significant percent of the sulfites and sulfides? How much longer for the aroma producing compounds to contact oxygen and react?

As a side note, try looking up any credentials for the inventor, Lorenzo Zanon. He appears to have none. The co-inventor is simply a sommelier.

Here is a link to US patent application No. 20050196499

Quack science
Hello again!

Just wanted to review some of the responses. We want to thank those postings and their authors who have actually tried the Clef du Vin product and share their results.

It never ceases to suprise me how others immaturely sink to using names to reference someone, tearing down a product they have not yet tried. These are always people that I guess, in a sense, think they appear big by tearing someone or something down. As a caveat to all readers, beware these postings, paying attention to those who have truly tried our product.

Scientists simply attempted to recreate the elements of a temperature-controlled cellar and its effects on wine. Their discovery, in accelerated form, was truly amazing!

We challenge everyone to honestly try the product on a wine that ages well. Tell us what you've discovered, like MoselleLux. Everyone's experience is different.

Again, wishing you all the BEST experiences in wine!

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