by Fred McMillin
for March 31, 1998
Shall We Filter, Sir?
Filtering is a clarifying technique that consists of passing a cloudy liquid through a porous filter bed to remove particles. It has become common only in the last 50 years...Careful tastings have proved that a filtered wine always tastes better than the same wine when it is turbid.
...1981, by Emile Peynaud, world authority on winemaking, University of Bordeaux.
There is a growing trend among top producers, especially in Bordeaux, the Rhone and California, to dispense with filtration on the grounds that it strips wine of character.
...1994, Joanna Simon in "Discovering Wine"
Winemaker Bruce Cakebread knew he had great grapes from the Napa Valley in his 75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon blend. After 21 months in French oak the wine was ready to bottle. Did he take the Peynaud route and filter, or join the no-filtering group Simon describes?
THE GENDER GAP
1994 Merlot (25% Cabernet), Napa Valley
Origins—Bruce's dad, Jack, was a photography student of the revered Ansel Adams. Some 25 years ago he was retained to take Napa Valley pictures for Nathan Chroman's "Treasury of American Wines." Charmed by the wine country, Jack casually remarked to the owner of the Sturdivant Ranch to let him know if he ever wished to sell. Arriving at his home in Oakland, the phone rang and the ranch owners said they would consider an offer. Jack and wife Dolores jumped in their car and were off to the valley. Cakebread Cellars was born.
Note—For much more about the winery, see the Dec. 12,1997 WineDay article titled "Highbred Cakebread."
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