Monthly Archives: April 2008

Colombo wasn’t just a detective on a TV show

… He is also a famous winemaker from Southern France.

Wine Review of the 2006 Jean Luc Colombo La Violette Viognier

Produced from 20 year old vines in the Languedoc-Roussillon, the La Violette underwent controlled fermentation and maceration at 59ºF, 80% in stainless steel tanks and 20% in barrels. The wine then spent 6 months on the lees, 70% in tanks, and 30% in one-, two- and three-year-old barrels.

 

My Tasting Notes –

 

Nose – Asian pear, apricot, mint

Taste – Honey, citrus, mineral/stone, tea

Mouthfeel – light to medium body

Finish – Medium in length, dry clean finish with flavors of honey and brewed tea

 

Decent Viognier from Languedoc Roussillon, a bit tight on the nose at first as it took about 45 minutes for it to open up.  Not as viscous as most Viognier, shedding its oily nature for a cleaner more crisp mouthfeel and strong mineral notes toward the finish. All in all not bad, we just picked this up at the Wine Cellar, wanting to branch out from our Viognier rut of sticking to California, Australia and of course Virginia.

 

 

Cheers!

 

 

Categories: $10-$20, Rhone Wines, wine cellar, wine review | 2 Comments

Kermit Lynch Tasting at The Barrel Thief

Last night I attending the Kermit Lynch tasting at the Barrel Thief in Short Pump, and as the email promised, it was HUGE.  Now Kermit Lynch himself was not there but 5 of his top imports were represented via the winemakers, who were there pouring their juice for us to try. For 10 bones we got to taste over 18 wines from the Rhone region, what a steal. I was not able to taste all the wines as they ran out of a few and I ran out of time, but the ones I did taste were fantastic. To accompany the tastings were some nice cheese and salami slices (didn’t try cuz of the whole vegetarian thing) and some nice baguette slices to help clean your palate in between tastes. To see what I thought and what I bought keep reading.

 

 

My Tasting Notes (in order of tasting)

 

Chateau de Trinquevedel

2007 Tavel $25 – A dry Rose comprised of 45% Grenache, 24% Cinsault, 15% Clairette, 6% Syrah, 4% Grenache Blanc, 4% Mourvedre and 2% Bourboulenc. Very full and round Rose with strawberry and salmonberry flavors and aromas that led to a stony, mineral finish. I would have bought this but they don’t actually have it in for sale yet.

 

 

Domaine Auguste Clape

St. Peray Blanc (3 vintages) – St. Peray is a small appellation in the Northern Rhone, South of Crozes-Hermitage producing white wines from Marsanne and Rousanne. The Blanc’s from Clape are 100% Marsanne with fermentation done in cement vats and aged in stainless steel.

 

2007 $40 – nose of honey, fuji apple with pear and honeysuckle flavors, beautiful mineral finish

2005 – nose of cooked fruit, apricot and floral notes dominated the flavor profile with a hint of spice and again a clean mineral finish

2004 – Interesting nose of sweet cheese such as baby swiss, apple, asian pear and nutty flavors – this vintage did not have the mineral finish that the others did

 

All the vintages were medium to full body, good fruit and moderate levels of acidity with the 2004 have lower acidity than the rest and a darker golden color (to be expected). These were very nice wines and it was awesome to taste the vertical.

 

Cotes du Rhone (3 vintages) – Made from 100% Syrah with whole cluster natural yeast fermentation in cement vats with 10 months ageing in large French oak casks, bottle fined and unfiltered.

 

2007 $45 – Blueberry and black cherry on the nose followed by raspberry eucalyptus and “dirt” on the palate, good big body with strong leathery tannins.

2006 $45 – Earthiness, blackberry and leather predominately on the nose with dark fruit and mint with a touch of green olive in the mouth – a years difference was definitely noticeable in the slight smoothing of the tannins that I would define as dusty.

2005 $45 – Barny, raspberry, cherry and slight funk on the nose with collard greens raspberry and earth rounding out the taste profile, firm tannins at the finish although extremely soft and well balanced across the mid palate. This was my favorite of the 3 and one of the wines I took home.

 

2005 Cornas Cuvee Renaissance $ 79– 100 % Syrah with same processing as above except for 20 months of aging in French oak casks. This wine had amazing blackberry pie and floral aromas, green bean, fig and licorice flavors. Fairly smooth tannins and full bodied structure.

 

2005 Cornas $119 – This wine is the exact same as above except from a different vineyard lot that is comprised of 60 year old vines. Another heavy hitter at $119, very rich with cranberry, currant, tobacco aromas that followed through to a similar taste profile with a bit of green pepper thrown in and a hint burnt rubber. HUGE TANNINS at the finish – definitely need about 10 years before this one really shows its potential.

 

Domaine Philippe Faury

 

2006 Condrieu Blanc $89 – did not try I wish I had because I love Condrieu wines.

2006 St. Joseph Blanc $39 – did not try

2006 Syrah $29 – 100 percent Syrah – strawberry and rose on the nose with mostly a pure cooked green bean flavor on the palate.

2005 St. Joseph VV $39 – 60 year old vines of 100% Syrah – Blackberry and cranberry dominated the aroma and flavor profile, with a hint of Shitake mushroom at the finish

2006 Cote Rotie $79 – 85% Syrah and 15% Viognier – Barny, earth, raspberry and floral notes. The Viognier gave the wine noticeably more viscosity and the floral aromas were very nice. I would have bought this but they didn’t have it in stock yet.

 

Domaine de la Charbonniere

 

2005 Vacqueyras $37 – 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah aged from 6-8 months in large oak tanks bottled unfiltered. Dill pickle, green olive and cassis with a earthiness and mushroom notes on the palate

2004 Chateauneuf du Pape “Mourre de Pedrix“ $49 – did not try

2005 Chateauneuf du Pape “Mourre de Pedrix“ $65 – Comprised of Grenache (69%), Syrah (15%), Mourvedre (15%) and Cinsault (1%). Aged in both oak barrels and large tanks for 12-18 months and bottled unfiltered. I got cake batter aroma on the nose as well as earth, cassis and a hint of fresh dill. On the palate I got similar flavors with green olive making another appearance and the earthiness became more evident. Magnificent body and structure, firm leathery tannins that will take quite a few years to smooth out. This was a great wine and the second bottle that I decided to purchase.

2005 Chateauneuf du Pape “Vielles Vignes” $75 – Comprised of 70% Grenache and 30 % Mourvedre. Toast, blackberry, sulfur on the nose with blackberry and tobacco flavors on the palate. Good body and firm tannins but not overly so.

2005 Chateauneuf du Pape “Les Hautes Brusquieres” $75 – (did not try)

 

The event seemed like a success (to me) with a good size crowd turning out for the tasting. I know myself and the few people I brought from work sure enjoyed our time and the opportunity to taste some pretty pricey wines of great caliber. Good job Barrel Thief team, I look forward to the next one!


If you haven’t already, make sure to stop by the Barrel Thief for some great wine and food or just to browse their selection.

 

Cheers!

 

Categories: Barrel Thief, Kermit Lynch, Rhone Wines, wine tasting | 3 Comments

The “other” Duero

A few weeks ago we joined some friends in Ashland Virginia for a wine and beer tasting at the Caboose, a small wine, beer and cheese shop that sits alongside the railroad tracks.  At the tasting were quite a few wines I had not had the pleasure of tasting before, including the 2004 Rivola Sardon de Duero that we purchased. At first glance I thought I had seen incorrectly because prior to this I had only heard of the Spanish region of Ribera del Duero and not the next door neighbor of Sardon.  I was not mistaken; Sardon de Duero like Ribera del Duero is located in Castilla y Leon, the largest of the autonomous communities in Spain. This wine in particular comes from the winery of Abadia Retuerta which encompasses 700 hectares (~283 acres) of land, 204  hectares of which contain vines that lie along the Duero river. The composition of grapes that take up the planted acreage of the estate consist of75% Tempranillo, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% is Merlot and a small amount of Syrah and Petit Verdot.

 

The 2004 Rivola is a blend of 60% Tempranillo and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in a mix of French and American oak casks for 12 months.   

 

My Tasting Notes –

Color – crimson

Nose – cabbage, prune, pepperoni, pomegranate, little funk, walnut

Taste – Raspberry, collard greens, blueberry, orange peel, cherry

Mouthfeel – medium body and smooth across the palate

Finish – Long with dusty tannins

 

This was a great wine with a fabulously smooth texture with great earthy cooked vegetable notes that were pleasantly complimented by the red fruit that drenched the palate. Complex in its flavor and aroma profile but very easy drinking in nature and a great value at $12 (on sale) or about $15 regularly priced.  This wine is estate grown as all of their wines are but does not classify as one of their Estate Wines which I am eager to seek out and try.

 

Cheers!

 

Categories: $10-$20, wine review | Leave a comment

Virginia Wine Industry in the News

After self distribution rights were taken away from Virginia wineries almost 2 years ago, a huge gap was left for someone to fill.  Enter the Virginia Wineries Distribution Company (VWDC), a new inexpensive outlet for Virginia Wineries to distribute their wine. For a nominal fee of $5 per transaction (size doesn’t matter) wineries in the Commonwealth can once again get their product back on the shelves of wine shops and restaurants here in Virginia (up to 3000 cases).  This $5 fee is much much less than the cost a winery would incur going through the typical wholesaler route of the 3 tier system. With a board of directors consisting of two winery owners, two wine wholesalers and the commissioner for the Virginia Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services, they hope that this will continue to provide stimulation to the growing VA wine industry that went from 6 wineries in 1980 to 147 today.

 

Comment from David King, Chairman of the VWDC and owner of King Family Vineyards in Crozet, Virginia:

(source – http://www.whsv.com/home/headlines/17859094.html)

“We are excited to launch this new company to support the Virginia wine industry,” says King. “This new wine wholesaler provides a distribution option for many Virginia wineries, especially smaller wineries that may not have other wholesale representation. It’s exciting for all sectors of the industry, wineries, wholesalers and retailers, to finally have this wine wholesaler in place. On behalf of the wine industry, I thank the Virginia General Assembly for creating an alternative to the Virginia wineries’ loss of self-distribution.”  

 

I am glad to see this development and I know that a lot of winery owners are excited as well, which can be seen from the already 70 that have signed up to use the service.

 

Cheers!

Categories: virginia wine, Virginia Wine Distribution Company, wine industry issues | 1 Comment

This Fridays wines at the Wine Cellar and Live Passionately

This Friday Jeff and the Wine Cellar gang are offering up a mixed bag of new wines for their weekly tasting.  Italy, California, Oregon, Portugal and Argentina will be represented in the mix of two white and three red wines.  It should be interesting, fun and FREE as usual. This Friday from 5:00 to 8:00

 

There is a cool and fun new application on the Virginia.org website aimed at identifying what your passions are.  Live Passionately lets you select 4 out of 12 icons (seen above) that represent everything from “natural beauty” (meaning you want to be outdoors) to “getting better with time” (meaning that you like to savor life) you will be told what your passion is and how Virginia can accommodate.  It is pretty neat, but it didn’t work out to well for me, I think because I have too many things I am passionate about.  Either way, it is a fun way to kill 5 minutes and find out more about what Virginia has to offer.

 

Cheers!

Categories: wine cellar, wine tasting | 1 Comment

Verbena is no lemon!

Verbena is actually the name of a lemon or a type of lemon but it is also the name of a new restaurant here in Richmond, which was by no means a lemon in our opinion. After getting much fanfare from the local blog scene and traditional press, and seeing that they had a couple of yummy veggie options on their menu, Megan and I decided to check it out. So after we hit River City Cellars for their tasting we headed over to Verbena for dinner.

We had reservations for 6:30 but arrived about 10 minutes early and were seated with no problem. The restaurant had 4 or 5 tables already occupied and it seemed to have a few patrons upstairs at the lounge, although I didn’t check for myself. Our water glasses were promptly filled as our menus were dropped off at which time I immediately dove into the wine list. The wine list was nice, with fair pricing, not overly extensive with about 18 selections each of white and red, and a nice diverse mix to suite everyone’s palate. Our waitress came over and introduced herself and promptly started in on the specials, although we stopped her to let her know we were vegetarians so she didn’t have to go into her schpeell about the duck and foie gras. She did however let us know what the 3 vegetables would be in the ravioli trio as they change everyday. We ordered our wine which was the Vino Robles 2005 Petit Sirah from Paso Robles and she gave us a few minutes to peruse the menu and make our selections. Upon her return she brought some fabulous bread accompanied by a homemade olive tapanade that we quickly scarfed up after ordering our food.

What we ordered –

Appetizer – Saffron potato cakes – $6

Salad – Manakintowne mixed greens with dressing of the day, a blackberry thyme vinaigrette – $6

Entrée 1 – Trio of ravioli (2 with Shitake mushroom, 2 with Butternut squash and 2 with Spinach) – $16

Entrée 2 – Phyllo wrapped vegetable medley (stuffed with asparagus, carrots, and squash accompanied by a light tomato sauce – $16

Dessert – Pistachio cupcake topped with white chocolate icing, surrounded by a passion fruit puree – $6

Coffee – 2@$1.50

The restaurant was fine dining in its approach to food and service. They had attentive and skilled wait staff, beautiful silverware that was almost ergonomic in design, Schott Zwiesel glassware (you know I am sucker for nice stems), and a simple yet elegant dining room. At the same time, they were able to make the whole experience seem very casual and relaxed, which some fine dining establishments fail to do.

The saffron potato cakes were simply amazing – I wished there were 10 on the plate instead of two, lightly pan fried on the outside but soft on the inside, with the saffron providing an excellent flavor without being overwhelming. The salad was crisp and fresh, and the homemade blackberry thyme dressing was refreshing and almost palate-cleansing. Both the entrées were great. The ravioli were a perfect balance between tender and al dente, and were chock full of their individual ingredients (sweet potato, spinach & ricotta and shitake mushroom). There was no hide and seek with the veggies to where you couldn’t even tell what they were filled with. They were topped with a light cream sauce which, if I were at home, I would have been tempted to lick out of the bowl. The phyllo wrapped dish (actually the vegetarian version of their phyllo wrapped salmon) was equally as good as the ravioli. Jam packed with flavor, the richness of the phyllo played well with the lightly grilled and steamed vegetables (which were plentiful), tied together by a wonderful yet simple tomato sauce.

Accompanying all this was the Petit Sirah from Vino Robles winery.

My Tasting Notes

Nose – black currant, cedar, plum, caramel

Taste – thyme, blackberry, blueberry, date and cinnamon

Mouthfeel – med body, soft and smooth

Finish – medium length and black cherry flavors

The wine was good and very “rich”, with loads of dark fruit that didn’t taste like fake, Hi-C fruit. I might have preferred something with a little more earth and vegetal notes to go with the food, but the wines on the menu that would have given me that would have been too tannic and full-bodied, possibly overpowering the food. All in all it was a good choice and excellent sip that would also be good all by itself, and at $30 it fit the bill.

Last but not least were the desserts. As soon as we heard “pistachios” our ears perked up and we didn’t even have to think about which one we were ordering. The cupcake had ground pistachio in it and was topped with an uber creamy white chocolate icing and fresh whole raspberry, surrounded by an exotic passion fruit puree. The savory aspect of the pistachio balanced out the sweetness of the icing and the tartness of the puree very nicely. Accompanied with some good strong coffee, it was an excellent way to finish the meal.

With 20% tip we were just over a hundred smackers for dinner, which for the amount and quality of the food was not bad at all. Our experience was great as you can tell and we walked out wondering when we would treat ourselves to Verbena once again.

Cheers!
Verbena on Urbanspoon

Categories: restaurant review, Richmond, verbena, wine review | 5 Comments

River City Cellars Tasting 4.11.08

Friday night we decided to mix things up and hit the wine tasting at River City Cellars instead of our old standby the Wine Cellar.  Megan and I had never been to River City before so we did some perusing around the shop to see what they had to offer. They have great prices and a unique and extensive selection for such a small shop. One other cool/interesting thing I noted is that I saw no references to ratings. No scores from Spectator, Parker, or Enthusiast posted above any of the wines.  I thought that was very interesting and the complete opposite of what you see in most shops today. Way to go against the curve RCC.

 

The tasting featured five wines from their $12 and under rack and was cleverly dubbed the “Taxpayer Relief Tasting”.

 

1 – 2006 Hillinger Pinot Grigio from Burgenland Austria – peach and floral notes on the nose with grapefruit and a razor sharp acidity on the palate. It was a little to sharp for my taste but was very good overall and a whole glass would probably very refreshing with some nice goats milk cheese. $11.99

2 – 2007 Bellevue Touraine Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley – Pink grapefruit and raw green bell pepper provide an awesome aroma followed by crisp acidity and lemony finish on the palate. Very nice! $10.99

3 – 2007 Bellevue La Foret Fronton Rose from just outside Touluse France – (70% Negrette, 15% Syrah, 15% Gamay) – Wonderful juicy watermelon aroma and a great fresh strawberry flavor profile with lush medium body. Excellent Rose, especially at the price point, so we took this one home. $11.99

4 – 2006 Terre di Poppiano Chianti – (primarily Sangiovese) Raspberry and pine tar on the nose with mint, raspberry, cherry and clove on the palate. Decent body with medium weight. $9.99

5 – 2006 Antano Rioja – (100% Tempranillo) Earthy nose laced with blueberry and raspberry, similar flavor profile surrounded by slight brussel sprout with medium body and fine dusty tannins. This was our favorite of the reds and our second wine we took home.

 

The wine of the week was the Faucon Noir in which we received a taste of at the register.  Faucon Noir is from Domaine du pes Saint Martin and is a Samur Rouge made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and this one was certified organic. The nose was a weird mix of floral and smoke with indiscernible dark fruit on the palate. Good body and acidity but the flavors and aromas were just off balanced in my opinion.  Megan and I were not fans, but hey that is what tasting is all about, trying new things!

 

Our first visit to RCC will certainly not be our last so look for future tasting reviews.

 

Cheers!

Categories: river city cellars, wine tasting | 3 Comments

Wine Blogging Wednesday #45 Announced

Tim at Winecast has announced next months Wine Blogging Wednesday #45 and the date is none other than my birthday, May 7th.  Tim has asked us to select an Old World (Germany, Austria, France) Riesling at any price point and of course blog about it. I of course already have mine picked out thanks to my fabulous purchase of the WBW blogger pack from Domaine547, so there won’t be my usual scramble the Tuesday night before to check the cellar or head to the wine shop.

 

Click HERE for the all the details on Tim’s site.

 

Cheers!

 

 

Categories: Wine Blogging Wednesday, wine tasting | Leave a comment

Tastings At The Wine Cellar

Last Friday we hit the Wine Cellar for their regular Friday night tasting. We had missed the past couple of weeks, where we diverged from our regular Friday night routine. On the menu were wines from South America, from both Chile and Argentina. 

 

1 – Casa Lapostolle Estate Bottled Sauvignon Blanc from Cachspoal Valley, Chile – This was a blend of Sauv Blanc and Semillion, I think the split was 70/30. Very nice floral nose with grapefruit and apricot, refreshing without being overly acidic. $10

2 – 2006 Terrazas de los Andes Malbec from Mendoa, Argentina (100% Malbec) – Intense blackberry on the nose, buttered toast and cedar notes along with more dark fruit dominated the flavor profile with nice dusty tannins. $11.95

3 – 2006 Casa Lapostolle Estate Bottled Merlot from Rapel Valley, Chile (100% Merlot) – Loads of thyme and cherry on the nose and a flavor profile that I could only describe as rustic. I struggled to find the words to describe the flavor profile and I still probably could tell you what I meant by rustic. Very dry finish – $16

4 – 2006 Casa Lapostolle Estate Bottle Cabernet Sauvignon Rapel Valley, Chile (85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Carmenere, 6% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc) – Beautiful nose of green bell pepper and raspberry with cassis and cedar box on the palate led to a great finish of cherry pie flavors. $16 (I think)

5 – 2005 Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina – Cedar again on the aroma combined with oak and black berry, black cherry and Whoppers (the candy) dominating in the mouth. A bit too much oak for me. $18.95

 

All in all a great tasting from our friends South of the border. My only wish is that it would have been with some obscure wineries and not the ones that are always “popular”. It is nice to find the diamonds in the rough sometimes at tastings such as these and fall in love with a new wine or winery that you have never heard of before.

 

This week Jeff goes to France with the following selections

 

1. CAVE PRISSE SAINT-VERAN WHITE BURGUNDY $16.45

2. RAPET PERE & FILS BOURGOGNE ALIGOTE $15.95

3. DOMAINE DE BOISSIEU BEAUJOLAIS-VILLAGES $14.95

4. FERRATON PERE & FILS CROZES-HERMITAGE $18.95

5. CHATEAU BELLEVUE PEYCHARNEAU BORDEAUX $17.95

 

It will be fun and FREE as always, see you there from 5:00 to 8:00.

 

Cheers!

Categories: wine tasting | Leave a comment

Wine Blogging Wednesday #44 French Cabernet Franc

Yes I know it is Tuesday, almost a week after WBW #44, but better late than never right. The reason for my tardiness on this post is due to my procrastination in ordering the WBW Three Pack from Domaine547.  It arrived Saturday afternoon (yay for Fedex shipping on Sat.) and we had it for dinner on Sunday night.

 

 

This months WBW was sponsored by Gary Vaynerchuk of WLTV fame who provided us with the theme of French Cabernet Franc.  The Cabernet Franc Jill at Domaine547 chose for us hails from the Saumur-Champigny appellation of the Loire Valley and was made by the winery, Chateau du Hureau.  Coming from vineyards comprised mostly of clay and limestone the 2005 Chateau du Hureau is comprised of 100% Cabernet Franc from vines ranging in age from 7 to 60 years.  The 2005 was fermented for 30 days and aged only in stainless steel tanks, where the wine underwent Malolactic Fermentation (MLF). This was my first wine from Saumur-Champigny and I think only the 3rd French Cabernet Franc (100%) that I have had, both the others being from Chinon, so I was very excited to try this one.

 

My Tasting Notes –

Nose – Red currant, barney/earthiness, smoke

Taste – Cranapple, raspberry, sweet basil, hazelnut, mushrooms

Mouthfeel – Medium body, leathery tannins – very dry

Finish – long and dry with the basil and raspberry flavors hanging on ‘til the end

 

Megan and I thoroughly enjoyed this wine, as it was a fabulous example of what Cab Franc can do. Very rich in flavor, but not overly extracted like some Cali versions (trying to be Cab Sauv), with a fuller body and not as many vegetal components (some are good) as some of the versions from here in Virginia.  Dominated by bright red fruit and nice fresh herbal notes with significant a tannin structure this wine may show best in another year or 2 or 3.  Two thumbs up to Jill and the D547 crew on this selection, I can’t wait to try the other 2 in the WBW blogger pack.

 

Cheers

Categories: $30-$40, wine tasting | 3 Comments

Pulling into Port!

After meeting Jeff and Elizabeth for dinner, Megan and I decided to treat ourselves to a little dessert of chocolate and Port once we got back to the house. In the cellar I had a few ports, but one I had been wanting to open since we tasted it back in January caught my eye – the 1992 Smith Woodhouse Late Bottle Vintage (LBV) Port. Smith Woodhouse is located in upper part of the famous Douro valley in Portugal which is where their 17 hectare Madalena vineyard sits. Planted with 45% Tinta Barroca, 35% Touriga Franca, 10% Touriga Nacional and 10% mixed vines, Madalena vineyard produce grapes that are still mostly pressed by workers feet.

The LBV Port bottlings from Smith Woodhouse are produced unfined and unfiltered which makes them fairly unique. The 1992 was bottled in 1996 and was aged minimum of 3 years before its release.

Color – very dark, almost black

Nose – Rhubarb, Molasses, fig

Taste – Brown Sugar, caramel, roasted nuts

Mouthfeel – medium body, doesn’t seem to be overly fortified, not too much of a kick

Finish – long and actual quite dry or drying

This was a very smooth soft and delicious Port that was a great pairing with our Ghirardelli Intense Dark Twilight Delight 72% Cacao Chocolate. Being my first LBV Port, this was quite different from other ports I have had. I usually go for the vintage or the 10/20 year, but the LBV seemed to be a wonderful combination of a 10 year and a ruby. At $27.95 I think this is a great value and a great Port to open up for a family dinner or one to open up and keep around for dessert for a few weeks like me.

Cheers!

Categories: Port, Smith Woodhouse, wine review | 1 Comment

Unfiltered?

 ~Plate and Frame Filter~

The process of filtering wine, especially red wine, is often a hot topic of discussion in the winemaking world.  Research from UC Davis has shown that at the molecular level no aroma or flavor compounds are removed when red wines are filtered.  The problem that this study, as well as others, does not address is the role that filtration plays in mouthfeel.  Wine experts and enthusiasts alike will attest to having a richer, fuller mouthfeel in an unfiltered wine. And it makes senses intuitively that if you do not remove the small particles in the wine, they will add weight and increased texture to finished product.

I know that winemakers fear the event of microbial spoilage if they leave the wine unfiltered, but I would like to know what percentage of wine that is unfiltered actually spoils. You can find lots of data on percentage of wines that get cork taint but numbers of spoilage incidents aren’t as easy to come by.Additionally consumer perception of particulate in their wine usually has negative connotations, or it did in the past.  Wine consumers are becoming much more educated and may know that “stuff” in their wine is okay and maybe favorable.

Personally, in blind taste tests I always prefer the unfiltered vs. filtered wine when it is the same exact wine.  Unfiltered wines seem to becoming more prevalent these days as the word “unfiltered”, in my experience, is being seen on more wine labels.  As with other labeling techniques, unfiltered indication seems to be trying to link filtration practices to quality.  To that point let me say that by writing this post I am not saying that all unfiltered wines are better than filtered ones – I know that isn’t the case at all.

My overall experience with unfiltered wines is that they are richer, have fuller mouthfeel, and have a more intense flavor profile, contrary to the UC Davis study. So my question to the wine blogosphere is what YOU think of the filtration process and your experiences with unfiltered wines.

Obviously I didn’t delve deep into details of the filtration process with this posts so any questions will be welcomed to elicit further discussion.

Cheers!

Categories: filtering wines, wine industry issues | 2 Comments