tercerowines


quality posts: 36 Private Messages tercerowines

In reading through the Sextant offering comments yesterday, the topic came up, and I was curious to read what a few of you had to say.

There seems to be some 'conventional wisdom' that filtration 'strips' character from a wine by stripping color, body, or other characteristics.

I'm curious how many of you believe this to be true, and, if you do, where this belief came from?

Just consider me a curious consumer/winemaker (-:

Cheers!

Larry Schaffer
tercero wines
www.tercerowines.com
larry@tercerowines.com

North316


quality posts: 107 Private Messages North316

Hey Larry, always happy to have you around. I don't necessarily believe it to be true, but I guess I also have never really seen a good explanation on why some winemakers do it and why some don't; or better yet, why some winemakers do it on some wines and not on others. I realize that most fine and filter because the general consesus that that most wine buyers don't have the knowledge/patience to properly decant and pour an unfined/unfiltered and don't want to deal with the all the questions from those customers as to why their wine tastes funny or is 'cloudy'.

I guess my question back to you is whether you agree with this statement or not; and do you think unfined and unfiltered wines retains more characteristics, or is just cheaper than fining and filtering?

I think the big issue going on in yesterdays discussion was that the winery rep originally came in and said that they didn't fine or filter their zin because they didn't want to strip it of color, character, etc, yet they said they did fine and filter the cab they were offering. It was later clarified by the winemaker that both wines were unfined and unfiltered, which then made sense.

My CT
"Trust your homies on the net", Clark Smith.
R.I.P. Inkycatz - Feb. 2013

cmaldoon


quality posts: 62 Private Messages cmaldoon

I personally have no issue with sediment in my wines up to a fairly decently large amount.

I have generally found that wines that are incredibly dark and have a bit of sediment tend to be higher quality wines. Not a guarantee but a trend. On the other hand I certainly don't purchase looking for sediment (how would I?).

I also want to differentiate between young and old sediment. Old wines cast sediment even if they may have seemed clear of it in their youth. If one is going to like old wines, one will have to deal with sediment one way or another.

Lastly: I wouldn't want a wine maker to ENCOURAGE sediment in their wines. There is some gunk that should stay in the barrels or get taken out by a very coarse filter. There is certainly a difference between types of filtering.

All in all, I deck the halls my wine run through a water purification filter because it would make sense to have it lose some character, a coarse filter to avoid large particles is fine.

2014 - 20 Btl. Fjellene (10 bot), Urraca Chard (10 bot)
Last purchase: 5/3/14

2013 - 75 btl. 2012 - 98 btl. 2011 - 112 btl. 2010 - 30 btl.
My Cellar

kylemittskus


quality posts: 229 Private Messages kylemittskus

Hey Larry,

The Sextant rep was the first person I've ever heard say that filtering takes something away from the wine. I certainly think it alters the flavor profile, but whether that's for the better or worse depends on the wine, I think.

Coarse filter? Of course. Eh? No. Anyway, fine filter or fine with egg whites, don't care as long as the decision benefits the wine.

There are, obviously, some things that need to be filtered like wines that are sur lie. I don't want to drink bread. However, I rather enjoy a bit of sediment in my wine (from unfiltering, not from age -- age sediment is a different topic entirely).

"If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine." -Rainer Maria Rilke

"Champagne is a very kind and friendly thing on a rainy night." -Isak Dinesen

MarkDaSpark


quality posts: 181 Private Messages MarkDaSpark

From the master (SonomaBouliste) in his June 2008 WW blog:


If You’re Not Part of the Solution, You’re Part of the Precipitate - Fri. June 13, 2008

I coined the above (I think) when I was an undergrad in the early 70’s (too many chemistry classes warp one’s sense of humor). We just lost one of our best restaurant glass pour placements because of all the sediment in our 2003 Sonoma County Cab. It really presents a quandary. I don’t like to treat wines more than is absolutely necessary. We do filter most of our wines tightly enough to insure against growth of Brettanomyces (“brett”), but we don’t fine or cold stabilize. All red wines will throw sediment with time, but some of ours tend to do so within a year or two after bottling, and a couple of them have formed alarming amounts of “muck” in that time.



Thus the crystal tartrates on his corks.



Someone has to put WD's kids thru college, but why does it have to be me!
*This post is for purposes of enabling only, and does not constitute any promise of helping pay for said enabling. It does indicate willingness to assist in drinking said wine.

tercerowines


quality posts: 36 Private Messages tercerowines
North316 wrote:Hey Larry, always happy to have you around. I don't necessarily believe it to be true, but I guess I also have never really seen a good explanation on why some winemakers do it and why some don't; or better yet, why some winemakers do it on some wines and not on others. I realize that most fine and filter because the general consesus that that most wine buyers don't have the knowledge/patience to properly decant and pour an unfined/unfiltered and don't want to deal with the all the questions from those customers as to why their wine tastes funny or is 'cloudy'.

I guess my question back to you is whether you agree with this statement or not; and do you think unfined and unfiltered wines retains more characteristics, or is just cheaper than fining and filtering?

I think the big issue going on in yesterdays discussion was that the winery rep originally came in and said that they didn't fine or filter their zin because they didn't want to strip it of color, character, etc, yet they said they did fine and filter the cab they were offering. It was later clarified by the winemaker that both wines were unfined and unfiltered, which then made sense.



Great to have the responses back thus far - and please keep em coming.

While at UC Davis, we had a few classes that dealt with filtration - different methodologies to possibly use AND what truly gets filtered out and what does not. My feeling is that nearly all (and it very well may be all) flavor and aroma particles are so darned small, they make it through nearly every type of filter used - other than some of the nano-filtration which is now the 'rage' to remove VA from wines, for instance.

What have I seen personally? I've seen some older 'plate and frame' type filters 'beat wines up' in the short term - it is quite a ciruitous path taken from point A to point B and the wine is 'affected' in the short term, but most likely not in the long term.

I am much more familiar with newer types of filters - specifically cross flow filtration, with technology borrowed from the pharmaceutical industry. A much gentler way of filtering that does not seem to 'beat the wine up' much it at all . . . and does not seem to strip anything from the wines.

Here's my 'beefs' with unfiltered wines:

Many winemakers truly 'imply' that the wine is 'better' because it is unfiltered . . .

WELL - unless you do numerous A/B comparisons, there is NO WAY to make a statement like this.

Many winemakers imply that they are 'doing less' but not filtering and, again, this is 'better' . . .

Okay, but now let's say the wine has serious microbial problems in bottle - is THAT better for you as a consumer?!?!?

Many winemakers run 'lab tests' before bottling to 'ensure' that their wine is 'clean' and therefore does not need to be filtered.

Maybe so, but many of these tests simply state that certain microbes or spoilage yeasts, such as brettanomyces, are 'below detection levels' . . . this does NOT mean that there are absolutely zero - and even if there are a few viable cells, given the right conditions, they will bloom and adversely affect the bottle.

Once a bottle of wine leaves my hands, I have no control over what happens to that bottle - during transport, during storage at a retailers, during storage in a consumer's home. Am I certain that wine will never be exposed to 'elevated temperatures' that can lead to blooms of microbes or spoilage yeasts? No . . .

I am a consumer first and foremost and a winemaker second. I care about the wines I make and want to make sure I do all I can to control what I can so that my customers have the best possible experience with each and every one of my bottles possible. Period.

I can go on, and I probably will later, but hopefully that gives you a bit of insight into my thoughts on the issue!

And Mark - I understand and appreciated what Scott says as well - just know that I don't know of a single winemaker who cold stabilizes their red wines, and therefore those crystals you speak of can certainly happen with nearly every bottle out there - at least I think they can (-:

Cheers!

Larry Schaffer
tercero wines
www.tercerowines.com
larry@tercerowines.com

tercerowines


quality posts: 36 Private Messages tercerowines
kylemittskus wrote:Hey Larry,

The Sextant rep was the first person I've ever heard say that filtering takes something away from the wine. I certainly think it alters the flavor profile, but whether that's for the better or worse depends on the wine, I think.

Coarse filter? Of course. Eh? No. Anyway, fine filter or fine with egg whites, don't care as long as the decision benefits the wine.

There are, obviously, some things that need to be filtered like wines that are sur lie. I don't want to drink bread. However, I rather enjoy a bit of sediment in my wine (from unfiltering, not from age -- age sediment is a different topic entirely).



Kyle,

You bring up some good points and good questions.

I guess what I was getting at were some of the 'conventional wisdoms' in our industry and questioning whether they are 'true' or not . . .

You open a bit of a 'can of worms' when you make the statement about not caring as long as the decision benefits the wine. How about the use of Velcorin to remove live yeast cells? Commonly used these days - only problem is the variable elevated levels of methanol that remain in the wine . . . Or how about de-alcing wines? Or de-VA'ing wines?

There are sooooo many 'things' out there to 'make wines better' - does the end justify the mean? AND should wineries be 'transparent' about what they truly do to their wines?!?!??

We can go on and on here - I'll try to stick with filtration for now (-:

Cheers!

Larry Schaffer
tercero wines
www.tercerowines.com
larry@tercerowines.com

kylemittskus


quality posts: 229 Private Messages kylemittskus

I'll go on. First of all, I think that wineries should always be completely honest and transparent with wine making. This is what started this entire conversation; IMO, the Sextant rep was trying to please two opposing parties at the same time. Not transparent.

As far as the interventions that wine makers can/can't and/or do/don't do (three slashes in a sentence!), I'm for the least amount of intervention possible for the most pure product. I think, although correct me if I'm wrong, that de-alcing a wine is quite hard on the wine. Coarse filtering would go under the "pure" product -- I don't want a yeast milkshake. I am completely and totally against MegaRed/Purple (purity). Micro-oxing is something that I haven't thought of much, although I know Michael Havens was a big proponent.

I'm a consumer first and not a wine maker so I want the best product you can give me. Best being a subjective term, I want the most pure product that hasn't had some part of it destroyed (like de-alcing) without the risk of spoilage due to microorganisms or whatnot.

I also deck the halls any magic crystals, rat skins, eels in barrels, full-moons, or manure-filled horns in my wine.

"If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine." -Rainer Maria Rilke

"Champagne is a very kind and friendly thing on a rainy night." -Isak Dinesen

cmaldoon


quality posts: 62 Private Messages cmaldoon

After reading through this all my thoughts have coalesced to this:

I don't care what a wine maker does to his/her wines just as long as they have a good, thoughtful reason to do so, feel it improves their product, and are open and up front about it.

From that point I can judge for myself to see if this or that winemaking method does good things according to MY palate.

I would LOVE to get to try certain wines filtered and unfiltered, de alced, acidified, chaptilized, with mega purple, aged in high toast barrels, whatever. I could figure out my favorites.

Until I know each one separately I will buy according to my perceptions and push the envelope once in a while.

My current perceptions:
Filtering: minor bad
De-alc: major bad
Acidified: ok in some over ripe wines
Chaptilized: ok in cold climate if necessary but generally bad
Mega purple: Major bad
Micro ox: no feeling
New oak: wine dependent. Easier to over do than under do
Toast: no opinion
Carbonic: want to try some more wines with more of this
Long time in barrel: positive
Stainless only: positive if intended


Intention and reason. That's what I really want in a wine. Good quality grapes are a good start too.

2014 - 20 Btl. Fjellene (10 bot), Urraca Chard (10 bot)
Last purchase: 5/3/14

2013 - 75 btl. 2012 - 98 btl. 2011 - 112 btl. 2010 - 30 btl.
My Cellar

kylemittskus


quality posts: 229 Private Messages kylemittskus
cmaldoon wrote:Carbonic: want to try some more wines with more of this



Beaujolais = bleck!

"If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine." -Rainer Maria Rilke

"Champagne is a very kind and friendly thing on a rainy night." -Isak Dinesen

cmaldoon


quality posts: 62 Private Messages cmaldoon
kylemittskus wrote:Beaujolais = bleck!



Nouveau or all? I believe that even RPM has once upon a time found a BN that he enjoyed.

2014 - 20 Btl. Fjellene (10 bot), Urraca Chard (10 bot)
Last purchase: 5/3/14

2013 - 75 btl. 2012 - 98 btl. 2011 - 112 btl. 2010 - 30 btl.
My Cellar

kylemittskus


quality posts: 229 Private Messages kylemittskus
cmaldoon wrote:Nouveau or all? I believe that even RPM has once upon a time found a BN that he enjoyed.



Personally, I'm not a fan at all. Just don't like the Gamay grape, I suppose.

"If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine." -Rainer Maria Rilke

"Champagne is a very kind and friendly thing on a rainy night." -Isak Dinesen

chukon99


quality posts: 4 Private Messages chukon99
cmaldoon wrote:
...and are open and up front about it.



This is the part that seems so difficult to discern, though. How open are most wineries about what they're putting out? There's a handful of folks that post about their techniques here, and a few places (e.g. Ridge) that make the info available, but how can you really tell?

I'd like to support winemakers that fit the general profile you described, but it seems like to it's so hard to really know what's going on. Are they really against "heavy" manipulation or is that just an image they're trying to project? I think I have a pretty good sense on the winemakers that make up the largest percentage of my cellar, but I'm really not so sure about others. And I'm somewhat torn about how much it really matters, in the end.

North316


quality posts: 107 Private Messages North316
cmaldoon wrote:Nouveau or all? I believe that even RPM has once upon a time found a BN that he enjoyed.



I've had one and poured it out.

My CT
"Trust your homies on the net", Clark Smith.
R.I.P. Inkycatz - Feb. 2013

cmaldoon


quality posts: 62 Private Messages cmaldoon
North316 wrote:I've had one and poured it out.



He did say it was a rare thing. I haven't had one I really liked either. Don't know if it is the Carbonic or grape or just general quality. I'd like to think the last of those.

2014 - 20 Btl. Fjellene (10 bot), Urraca Chard (10 bot)
Last purchase: 5/3/14

2013 - 75 btl. 2012 - 98 btl. 2011 - 112 btl. 2010 - 30 btl.
My Cellar

klezman


quality posts: 121 Private Messages klezman
cmaldoon wrote:He did say it was a rare thing. I haven't had one I really liked either. Don't know if it is the Carbonic or grape or just general quality. I'd like to think the last of those.



I've not had a BN that I've liked, but the Beaujolais Crus wines can be fantastic, and also quite age-worthy. At least to the 10 year mark (none of these 50 year wines from Gamay). Try a Morgon or Brouilly...you may be surprised.

2014: 28 bottles. Last wine.woot: Scott Harvey Red Re-Mix
2013: 66 bottles, 2012: 91 bottles, 2011: 92 bottles, 2010: 74 bottles, 2009: 30 bottles, 2008: 3 bottles My CT

rpm


quality posts: 170 Private Messages rpm
cmaldoon wrote:He did say it was a rare thing. I haven't had one I really liked either. Don't know if it is the Carbonic or grape or just general quality. I'd like to think the last of those.



It's all three. Carbonic maceration is not conducive to making great wine, the Gamay grape generally is not conducive to making great wine, and no winemaker in his right mind will use his best grapes for carbonic maceration winemaking for immediate sale and consumption.

So, the stuff is usually vile.

I suspect the origin of the stuff must have been desperation for wine when the previous year's vintage was all gone well before harvest....

However, in years when all the grapes are very good or better, in the hands of a very skilled and careful winemaker, drinkable and even pleasant, Beaujolais Nouveau is possible. Rare, but possible.

Wine-tasting in 8 words:
Pull lots of corks!
Remember what you taste!