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Forums Home  /  Wine 101   /  unfiltered?  (7 posts)

winey
3 posts

Feb 11, 2008
6 years, 2 months ago

1unfiltered?

What exactly is a unfiltered wine? Is it a wine that is sure to have a lot of sedement or does it occur during the making of the wine?

WineBratSF
7 posts

Feb 12, 2008
6 years, 2 months ago

2Re: unfiltered?

Sediment is pretty normal in a lot of red wines, especially as they get older.

Filtration is part of the winemaking process that is optional. Many winemakers choose to NOT filter or fine their wines (with egg whites, milk, and other chemicals I can't pronounce) because they feel it adds flavor and complexity.

There is a big controversy about this in California right now, because some winemakers insist that filtration and fining is required to produce these cult wines and provide stability for long shelf life (like the 3 year old bottles gathering dust on the bottom shelf of Safeway, to be AVOIDED at all costs), when others think that it is an added step that mucks with the wine.

I recently had a side by side of pinot noir from the same year, same vineyard. One was manipulated in the classic way, and was a great classic pinot from Russian River.

The other, was unfiltered and unfined. The core flavors were the same, BUT the unfiltered example was wild, untamed, and had more overall complexity to it.

Check it out, you can create your own side by side! It's all personal taste and winemaker preference really.

winey
3 posts

Feb 13, 2008
6 years, 2 months ago

3Re: unfiltered?

So is it safe to say unfiltered also adds some cloudiness to the wine? I just had a wine from portugal 50% cab 50% something i never heard of started wint a N. ANyway I did not tlike it but coooked with the next day and noticed alot of sedement and it was cloudy.

WineBratSF
7 posts

Feb 14, 2008
6 years, 2 months ago

4Re: unfiltered?

Yes - cloudiness is typical in unfiltered wines.

Captain Caveman
83 posts

Feb 18, 2008
6 years, 2 months ago

5Re: unfiltered?

Filtering is actually very common in most commercialy made wines with productions over 10,000 cases. It has two effects, one to increase the transparency of the wine, the second being to reduce sediment in the bottle and provide a more homogeneous finished product. Wineries do this because until recently most Americans have had little to no experience with unfiltered wines, and have shown a propensity to reject wines with sediment when they are served.

In recent years it has become fashionable among boutique producers to bottle their wines with little or no filteration. In theory this produces a wine with a more natural texture and a wider, more complex range of flavors, sometimes at the expense of clarity.

If a wine has been allowed to settle for at least a few days upon delivery before opening, and still shows cloudiness, this is likely due to some residual protein in the wine, and is technically speaking, a fault.

Captain Caveman
83 posts

Dec 27, 2008
5 years, 3 months ago

6Re: unfiltered?

Also it is worth noting: Filtering is the process by which the wine is pushed through a membrane to removes certain elements (notably potassium bitartrate, and color pigments).

Fining on the otherhand is the process of adding non wine substances (usually protein, i.e. egg whites, milk, beef blood, et cetera, but also syntetic substances like spakleoid or ceramics) to remove undesireable characteristics like excessive tannin.

Captain Caveman
83 posts

Dec 27, 2008
5 years, 3 months ago

7Re: unfiltered?

In regards to fining, the fining agent is not something which could ever become part of the wine, though it may trap certain matter as it travels through the wine. When the wine is racked (via siphon, usually) the wine is separated from the dregs, and the finished wine shows no trace of the agent which has been used for fining.