Filtering – Squeaky clean or al natural
Its bottling time so I have been thinking about wine filtration the last few weeks. There are several ways to get your wine clean and clear of all those bugs, skins and other bits and pieces. First, when I talk about filtering I’m not thinking about “racking” and/or “fining”. Generally, I believe most wine should be made clear by racking. This is a timed based method of letting the particles settle out and moving the clear wine into a new vessel. Fining, or the process of adding some agent (egg whites, clay etc) to the wine to bind up with offending particles and then settle out quickly, is a on ok method for home winemaking and speed. But, heck if we’re interested in speed we could use a centrifuge and it would get most everything, including some flavor, out of the wine instantaneously. So, when I speak of filtering I’m really talking about “polishing” and “sterile cleaning” of the wine.
So, should we polish and sterile clean all Naked Wines? Generally, the answer is yes, as we want you to see beautiful wine that can age for long periods of time with no little bugs. These bugs can come back to life to eat perhaps a tiny bit of residual sugar and produce some funky sulfur compound that makes the wine taste bad. So, when you pick up a bottle of Naked Winery wines you can almost always assume it’s been polished up and sterile filtered just before it goes into the bottle.
So, when is this not the case? Oh, I’m glad you asked. The answer is that for many of the Oh! Orgasmic wines we’ve left them just the way nature intended them to be i.e. we didn’t filter out any of the flavor. Is it risky? A bit perhaps, but we don’t think so. The Oh! Orgasmic wines have exceptionally clean fruit to start with, are racked many times, with very clean equipment and are generally pretty high in Alcohol. These factors mean there is little risk that some bad bug is still around. What it leaves us with is the Oh! Orgasmic wines do have more flavor as we didn’t filter any good stuff out. As they age over time they will need to be decanted as particulate matter is going to continue to drop to the bottom as you age the wines.
Filtering is just another one of the slew of decisions while making wine one must consider. Like most things, it depends on the situation and the grape involved. We strive to make sure that we pick the best filtering for the every wine so that you can enjoy getting Naked with every bottle.