Wednesday, May 04, 2005

This just doesn’t sound right

While I believe strongly that the traditional borders of winemaking need to be continually explored and pushed, I find this statement disturbing:
Peg Melnik, Santa Rosa Press Democrat]

Dennis Martin, vice president of winemaking at Hopland's Fetzer Vineyards, says his winery has used Smith's filtration processes to remove alcohol and aromas of vinegar and fingernail polish from some wines.

Eh? Vinegar and fingernail polish...
What’s the story here…was this wine neglected somehow in the cellar? Perhaps the sulfite level was too low, or the barrels (if they used any on the wine in question) weren’t cleaned properly. It’s hard to tell as there’s no information given as to why the problem occurred. To be sure, there’s variation in barrels from one to the next, and no one’s expected to have 100% success harvest after harvest. But even if this was just an isolated event, somewhere a mistake was made with this particular wine. Yet today a winery can just wave a magic wand over the tank and have that corrected (for a fee to be sure). Are there no consequences other than paying out a bit of money to have the wine treated? (I have tasted some ion exchange treated wines in the past and they generally lost a little aroma during the process, but it's usually not as detrimental as the 'off' flavors which spur the process to be applied in the first place.)

My hat’s off to Clark Smith & the crew at
Vinovation for figuring out how to do that on a production scale...
But I may put that hat back on…suddenly it’s feeling a bit chilly in here.


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