Saturday, April 11, 2009

Wine Is Only Two Ingredients

Wine is simply two ingredients, fruit and yeast. And if you really want to get picky, then it is just one ingredient...fruit..that contains its own yeast. However, if you read the Code of Federal Regulations section 24.246 , then you can clearly see that wine is not simply two ingredients..if a winemaker so chooses so.

Well this winemaker chooses to only use the bare, bare minimum of the approved food additives that our government has so deemed as safe.

There are times when you need to make an adjustment to your must or wine. Maybe the grapes did not have the right acidity; either too much or too little. Thus an adjustment needs to be made with natural tartaric acid, found in grapes and cucumbers for example, to bring acid up. Or acid can be brought down by means of a decarboxylation acid conversion of Malic acid to Lactic acid via Oneococcus oeni, a bacteria naturally found in our environment. Or maybe I want to make sure that I combat oxidation and/or keep O. oeni from propagating in the bottle. So I would add about 50 ppm of Potassium Metabisulfite as a form of Sulfur Dioxide (SO2..aka.. sulfites). These are all acceptible ways to manage the wine, so that we have a stable and sensorially pleasing product.

One thing that turns me off about wine is going to a big tasting or just trying a bottle of some vintner and tasting this nasty-ass egg flavor in the wine. Maybe I just have a lower threshold for identifying egg-white as a clarifying agent in wine, but I hate it and it makes me want to throw up.

At Cedar River Cellars, you will not find excessive finning with egg-white, fish bladder, sea-shells, Polyvinylpolypyrrolidone, gelatin, clay, or any other clarifying agent in our wines. I just feel it is not needed, and with gravity, cool temperatures, racking, and time.. small particulates, like yeast, will settle out, and tannins and phenols will mellow out. Now I am being a little dramatic here, these additives all have nice friendly names like Polyclar, isinglass, chitosan and bentonite..and of course they have benefits. Some of these clarifying and smoothing additives have been used in beer and wine making for centuries. If the need comes to get some of that haze out of a white wine, then bentonite would be my primary choice.

I just want to make easy drinking flavorful wines that you enjoy glass-by-glass unadulterated by any foodstuffs or foreign aromas. What I mean by this is, enjoy Cedar River Cellars with friends and family in a social atmosphere, and respect the sensory attributes of the wine. Don't just assume that the wine MUST be paired with some kind of food dish.