Slow ox'd

I see this phrase used frequently and cannot find an explanation. What does it mean to slowly oxidize a wine?

The way I understand it, it’s a slow oxygenation of a wine by pulling the cork and letting it “breathe” in the bottle.

Fascinating read

Thank you.

Works well on young wines as well.

I prefer a slight variation (which Monsieur Audoze disagrees with), & pour out a 2 oz glass (this is also my preliminary taste), & recork the bottle for the 3,4, 8,12, or 18,24 hours I’ll be Slow-Oxing the wine.

In the case of very young German Riesling, if a particular bottle also has some SO2 showing, I will give it a Sparky-Shake before putting it back in the fridge as well.


Thanks for the link.


Just so you know Audouze’s method , he says, is for “ancient” wines (“ancien”)…which, in my view, means more what we think “ancient” means than merely older/old. He mainly drinks what I consider “ancient” wines, relatively. Does it help those wines show best? He thinks so, and he is the most experienced with such wines of anyone I’ve heard of.

But, it is essentially “popping and pouring”. (And, the common wisdom is that merely pulling a cork on a relatively full bottle (many old wines have less fill) does nothing much. And, if one considers popping and pouring a desirable method of serving wine of any age (it can work, IMO, just also risks having the wine close up just when you’re trying to enjoy it) then, IMO, “slow ox” does nothing much, if at all.

People have variants on this method that they use for younger wines…such as cleaning them of sediment and then putting them back into the uncorked bottle. The theory is that this decanting injects some subtle oxygen into the wine in the process, which it does. Does even that change things, ie, improve the wine over popping and pouring (assuming that sediment is undesirable in the glass, which I assume)? Well…it’s less risky than fully decanting a wine and letting it “breath”…which is not slow ox.

Slow ox is essentially allowing the oxygen in via the place where the cork was, though…to really answer your question of what the method is. I think of it , in most cases, as almost-no-ox.

The interface of air and wine up at the top of a bottle with normal ullage is really quite small, and if the wine isn’t shaken up, I can’t imagine the Oxygen is really reaching (and thus reacting) with much of the wine. I like the idea of taking out a small amount so that the wine is down in the shoulders of the bottle and that surface area is a bit larger.

I suspect that most of Monsieur Audouze’s old wines are not still in the neck fills! With my wines, typically 10 - 30 years old, if the fill is still in the neck, or very high, I will take out a small initial exploratory taste to enlarge the surface area a bit and to see what the wine is like to start with.

Ideally 4 - 6 hours later, a Burg will develop very well. Bordeaux can be slower, as they have more body and tannin. If I only have an hour before dinner, I will often decant about 1/5 of the bottle into a tiny 187ml carafe that I have. Then keep both cool in a small insulated picnic bag, and work on the decanted portion first, later going to the part in the bottle, which I will inevitably prefer!

Decanting introduces a fair amount of initial oxygen, which, to my tastes, can somewhat “blunt” or deaden something like a fine mature Burg. A wine straight from the bottle often has a lot of “vitality” from acid and tannin etc., and oxygen exposure can soften and “improve” such a wine. The fruit can deepen and develop more complexity. But too much air can take out too much of that vitality and introduce too much “softening”. It all depends on the age and structure of the wine…

Slow-O is not at all like “pop-and-pour”. I would never pop and pour a mature or semi-mature Burg (or other wine). Sure, you may see it “develop” (if you can watch it for 4 hours!), but eventually you will come to the conclusion that you are wasting 4/5 of the wine, as the very last glass will always be the best! :slight_smile: