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Clef du Vin Science

"Clef du Vin" TM Science
A revolutionary concept from France:

The unique and exceptional Clef du Vin is essentially a measuring instrument that will immediately tell you if your wines are suitable for laying down, and thus revealing their aging potential. In a controlled way, it will gradually modify the organoleptic qualities of the wine (taste, smell, flavours and bouquet).

The Clef du Vin has been carefully calibrated so that one second of contact in a glass of 10 cl. (or a bottle of 75 cl. using the corresponding key) will display the potential lay down time of one year.

Effective on all types of wine (red, rosé, white, dry, mellow, sweet, fortified or sparkling), the Clef du Vin is in fact an informative measuring instrument.

There are considerable advantages for consumers:

  1. Only buy wines that will age well or wines you know need to be drunk within the year.
    For example: At the wine merchant or at a wine fair you taste the wine and then you dip the Clef du Vin for few seconds. If the wine remains pleasant or improves, you can buy with confidence - it will age well. But if the wine deteriorates rapidly (the taste becomes flat, oxidised, metallic...) then it has little or no ageing potential and should be drunk within a year or two...
  2. Know how long your wines can lay down for. Reassess your wine cellar.
    When you open a bottle from one of your cases, carry out the test. Dip the Clef du Vin as explained above.
  3. If your wine improves and is at its best after between 4and 8 seconds, then you will prefer it within 4 to 8 years (or you may drink it straight away after 4 to 8 seconds with the Clef du Vin...)
    There is no absolute rule. You should drink wine the way you like it, when you like it.You can now regularly go through your cellar, "testing" which wine is ready for drinking and which will need more years to mature.
    Drink a young wine today.
  4. You will have the advantage of being able to appreciate a young wine right away that otherwise would have needed 5 to 10 years to mature.
    The Clef du Vin softens the structure of the wine and speeds up the aromatic development of its flavour. One could say that the wine is "opened up" with the key.
    Red wines will see their tannins becoming softer, and their elegance being expressed.
    The acidity of dry white wines will be reduced, revealing the subtle flavours of the fruit.
    With sweet white wines, expect an explosion of flavours in your mouth!

We are talking about a tool which will help you buy your wine, manage your cellar and help you with your wine tasting.

Attention! : The Clef du Vin does not age the wine!!!! (see the scientific explanation below)

Attention! : The Clef du Vin does not turn a bad wine into a good one. It isn't magic! A poor quality wine, or one without any ageing potential, will be quickly and completely spoiled by the Clef du Vin (generally 2 seconds of contact is sufficient).

To recap, Clef du Vin allows you to:

Fully appreciate a good young wine or even a wine that is much too young, without having to wait, as we tend today to drink wines younger and younger.

Determine the best possible moment to appreciate a wine.

Feel reassured when buying your wine, and avoid buying wine with no aging potential, and identifiy wines with high potential, which are not necessarily the most expensive

Similarly, the advantages for professional people are considerable:

  • The Clef du Vin will provide the oenologist with information about the oxidation-reduction of his/ her wine.
  • Having a better understanding of this complexe process is invaluable when making decisions during the production and maturation processes.
  • The Clef du Vin is an aid to sales on a large scale.
  • The Clef du Vin optimises the selection and purchasing processes.
  • It's ludic approach increases the pleasure of drinking, thus increasing thesales of wines at a restaurant for instance.


CUTTING-EDGE TECHNOLOGY

The Clef du Vin is an alloy made up of many different metals, which have been prepared and produced using a special technique.

It is the outcome of scientific study combined with accepted traditions and methods in the wine industry.

The Clef du Vin was invented over 10 years ago by Laurent Zanon, chemist and oenologist, chemistry and biology teacher, in collaboration with a sommelier, Franck Thomas, Best Craftsman of France, Best Sommelier of France and Europe (year 2000) and French candidate for the next world championships in Greece (which takes place every 4 years).

As a winemaker, Laurent Zanon needed an instrument to help him decide when is the right moment to do whatever he needs to do during the wine making process.

"Now I use the key as follows, Mr Zanon says :

If the wine in the vats is in "reduction" (closed smells of sulphur, marzipan, or even rotten eggs) I fill a 10 cl glass and dip the Clef du Vin in for 2 seconds. If the reduction persists, I need to intervene (rack the wine ...). If not, I can wait."

We have created a tool, which is user-friendly and accessible to everyone.

During its life cycle, the wine passes from a phase of reduction (fermentation process in vats or casks) to a phase of oxidation (wine which is too old to be drunk). Between these two phases, the wine will evolve along its curve of oxidation-reduction, going through periods of equilibrium when it can be appreciated at its best (depending also on personal taste).

What happens when the wine ages in bottle under favourable conditions?

The wine will be oxidising during its evolution, and some do it faster than others. Moreover this phenomenon is increased after the bottle has been opened. This will considerably change the wine's quality for better or for worse.

By using the Clef du Vin you will be able to accelerate maturing in order to work out the laying down potential, knowing that one second of contact is equivalent to one year of "ageing" (of oxidation-reduction).

 

Of course, the Clef du Vin has not invented reduction by oxidation! Mankind have known about this natural process for over 2000 years. But on the other hand, the team of Clef du Vin have mastered how to measure it, gauge it and reproduce it in a controlled and regulated way.

In order to bring out the ageing potential of a wine, the Clef du Vin gradually modifies amongst other things the balance in oxidation-reduction up to its destruction (taste). Each second of contact in a 10 cl glass (or 75 cl bottle with the corresponding wine key model) will advance the wine one year on its oxidation-reduction curve (life), showing its laying down potential or ageing potential.

It will show you the pleasure that you will have drinking the wine in 1, 2,...5,...10 years.

By using the Clef du Vin you will be able to accelerate maturing in order to work out the laying down potential, knowing that one second of contact is equivalent to one year of "ageing" (of oxidation-reduction).

Of course, the Clef du Vin has not invented reduction by oxidation! Mankind have known about this natural process for over 2000 years. But on the other hand, the team of Clef du Vin have mastered how to measure it, gauge it and reproduce it in a controlled and regulated way.

In order to bring out the ageing potential of a wine, the Clef du Vin gradually modifies amongst other things the balance in oxidation-reduction up to its destruction (taste). Each second of contact in a 10 cl glass (or 75 cl bottle with the corresponding wine key model) will advance the wine one year on its oxidation-reduction curve (life), showing its laying down potential or ageing potential.

It will show you the pleasure that you will have drinking the wine in 1, 2,...5,...10 years.


Oxidation-reduction curve

Total reduction ---------------- Equilibrium-------------------- Total oxidation

10cl for 1 second = 1 year

One second for one year, two seconds for two years...

The result obtained with the Clef du Vin is irreversible. The successive dips (contacts with the wine) are cumulative (one second plus one second = one dip of two seconds).

The Clef du Vin is a catalyst that activates and accelerates a natural phenomenon: oxidation.

But be careful! The Clef du Vin does not age the wine.

There are many more things happening during the natural ageing of a wine that the Clef du Vin does not claim to reproduce (there are more than 100 components known in wine, which are related to wine aging).

The Clef du Vin also acts on the aromatic components: the esters, ketones, aldehydes and on the tannins.

The aromatic components are "protected", "inhibited" by sulphured components (atoms of sulphur "S"), very sensible to oxidation.

The Clef du Vin acts in a similar way on the aliphatic chains by modifying the simple connections of carbon, sulphur and hydrogen.

Three years of research went into the creation of the Clef du Vin alloy. Then seven more years were spent validating the right calibration of one second to one year. The inventors started by buying a batch of bottles. Then professional sommeliers met together every year organising blind tastings (duo-trios, triangles...). The objective was to compare the actual results with the Clef du Vin's predictions. More than 95% of the time, the Clef du Vin proved to be correct!!!

Patents were applied for in 2000.

The Clef du Vin does not wear out. Everything happens on the molecular level. There is no migration of metal to the wine. The Key simply reorganises certain of the wine's molecules. Nothing is lost, nothing is created, but everything is transformed...

What does the alloy contain? The answer forms the basis of four international patents.

USER GUIDE :

"DIP, COUNT, DRINK!"

Clef du Vin TM is unique and interesting. It is a scientific means of helping you to optimise the selection, laying down and tasting of your wines.

Instructions for use:

The Clef du Vin is dipped repeatedly into a glass of wine.

In a 10 cl* glass, one second of contact modifies the tannin structure, as well as the organoleptic qualities (taste and aroma), by the equivalent of one year of laying down time in a wine cellar.

Begin by pouring a glass of wine (10 cl.).

Taste and memorise.

Dip the Clef du Vin disk into the glass for one second, taste again and compare.

Repeat the operation until the wine deteriorates to determine a "drink by" date.

Attention! This process is very fast. Be aware!

*For the model for "Bottle", use a bottle of 75cl.

Which wine to buy? How to select a wine?

If after several dips (or a continuous dip of a few seconds), the wine remains pleasant or improves, you can buy with confidence, it will age well.

If the wine deteriorates after one or two seconds of contact, the wine has little or no ageing potential, and should be drunk within a year or two.

The Clef du Vin reassures you in your selection and purchase of wines.

When should I drink this wine? How long should I lay it down for?

If you prefer the wine after dipping Clef du Vin in for 3 seconds, you may lay it down for three years, then you will most probably appreciate the wine at its peak (according to your personal taste, of course).

There is no absolute rule; everyone should drink wine the way they like it, when they like it, neither too soon, nor too late!

How to taste and appreciate a young wine?

With the Clef du Vin you will be able to appreciate the real potential of an immature wine, in a matter of seconds.

Clef du Vin speeds up the aromatic development of the wine's flavours and softens its structure. You could say that the wine is "opened up" with the key.

Red wines will see their tannins becoming softer, and their roundness being expressed.

The acidity of dry white wines will be reduced, revealing the subtle flavours of the fruit.

With sweet white wines expect an explosion of flavours in your mouth!

The Clef du Vin allows you to enjoy today the full potential of a wine needing to be laid down, which otherwise would have needed years to mature.

Care and cleaning: Simply rinse with warm water and dry with a cloth. Do not place Clef du Vin in the dish washer, as this could damage it!

WINE LIFE CURVE - The Process of Aging

Point 0 indicates bottling, the birth of the wine.

This area represents the "bottle sickness" period that all wines go through lasting from 1 to 4 months. This is part of the wine's natural evolution. It causes a regression in the wine's development and time is required for it to improve in the bottle.

Zone 1 : The young wine opens up and starts to be enjoyable.

Zone 2 : While evolving, some wines actually go through a stage of closing up again for a short time. Red wines become ordinary. Pleasure in the mouth is diminished by a firm and tannic structure, oak is in a domination phase. White wines become even more ordinary and less pleasant. For some wines, this phase doesn't happen; they immediately reach their peak. This is the case with "Beaujolais Nouveau" for instance. Some wines will even pass through several phases of this kind.

Zone 3: represents the wine's peak and the phase where it will give most pleasure. This phase may take one year to several years. Zone 4: represents the wine's decline.

THE INVENTORS OF " Clef du Vin " 

Franck THOMAS :

After obtaining his sommelier diploma in 1992 and winning the prize for the "Best Young Sommelier in Provence", he worked in various prestigious restaurants located on the French Riviera, including The Negresco in Nice and the Hotel Juana in Juan Les Pins.

In 1995 he won the title of "Best Young Sommelier of France" then in 2000 he became "Best Craftsman of France" in the newly created category of sommelier. That same year he took the title of "Best sommelier of France". Later this year, he became "Best Sommelier of Europe".

Today he works as an international consultant in wine and is the co-owner of different restaurants such as "Le Parcours" at Falicon (Alpes Maritimes), which obtained a Michelin star already on its first year of opening.

Franck will represent France in the World Championships for the Best Sommelier, which will be held in Greece this autumn 2004. This prestigious competition takes place every four years.

Lorenzo ZANON :

After training as an oenologist and chemist, he worked in various well known establishments in Burgundy and particularly at Nuits Saint Georges and Meursault, where he was in charge of the production of Premier Crus andGrands Crus.

Lorenzo Zanon was a teacher of biology, chemistry, viticulture and oenology.

As general manager and director of an estate in Meursault, he extended his experience, knowledge and skills related to wine production.

He is today the Manager (Vines and Wine) of a famous Champagne house.

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