Clarifying Whites

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Eric Lundblad
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Clarifying Whites

#1 Post by Eric Lundblad » February 28th, 2017, 11:40 pm

What's your preferred method(s) for clarifying white wines?

It, a chardonnay, would be nice if it'd settle on it's own, but I don't think it's going to clear up enough on it's own. So what's your preferred choice and why...filtration (2.5 SEITZ-SUPRADISC most likely), bentonite (preferences?), leave it the way it is and tell customers to piss off, others?

Thanks!
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Ian Brand
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Clarifying Whites

#2 Post by Ian Brand » March 1st, 2017, 12:33 pm

All depends on what the haze is and your goals for the wine.
A polish filter with discs can be effective without beating up the wine the way plate and frames do. Bentonite will work on some things, not others.
If this is a problem with the wine/vineyard you haven't dealt with before, you might want to get it tested and figure out what you're dealing with as things like protein hazes settling out can really make the bottle tough to deal with.
My rec would be to spend the $100 to find out what the haze is, then probably run it through a polish filter using lots of nitrogen to avoid oxygen contact.
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Joe Webb
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Clarifying Whites

#3 Post by Joe Webb » March 2nd, 2017, 10:27 am

As long as its stable I would sell it. I think the public is vastly under informed on whites needing to be crystal clear. They don't buy there Trader Joes apple juice filtered to why does white wine have to be? Though if its protein and many get worse or show ropiness as opposed to just some haze I would do something.

Have you cold stabilized it? Some will drop out then.

I have used bentonite at the juice stage to help stabilize whites enough prior to fermentation they can be unfiltered. Not that that can help you now but if its a persistent problem with a block something to try next year.

If you have a filter there is always that route which most whites go thru anyway.
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Clarifying Whites

#4 Post by Eric Lundblad » March 2nd, 2017, 6:56 pm

Thanks for the thoughts/opinions.

I've gotten this fruit for a few years now, and it takes forever to get through ML...by Dec or so of the following year is typical. A starting TA of 9 g/l and 3.1-3.2ish pH at bottling is typical, which is why ML is difficult. I do some stirring of the lees during the year, to keep the Oenococcus babies suspended and as happy as they can be (not that happy apparently). So the haze appears to be from the lees stirring, at least in large part. Centrifuging a sample clears it up. Why hasn't someone invented/built a centrifuge for barrels??? :) Prior protein stability has been fine...I've done a heat/protein stability test on prior vintages by putting a sample in my attic for a couple of weeks, a reasonable way to check but Ian's right that sending a sample in for a full check up is a good idea.

Likewise, I put a sample in my fridge for a couple of weeks to check for cold stability...no bitartrate precip, a benefit of the lees stirring, so no cold stabilizing for this puppy. Some precip could happen if bottles get chilled more than this, but that seems unlikely...and cold stabilizing has its effect. Hmmm, on second thought, perhaps cold stabilizing could clear it up enough to avoiding filtering...will have to think about/investigate this.

I've considered not filtering it, but Joe's 'public is vastly under informed' comment is what concerns me. My strategy along these lines is to reduce the difficultly/time to get it though ML. I did a 'late co-inoculation' of ML bac (i.e. inoculating a ~5 brix) on this wine, hoping that would make life better...it didn't. In 16, I did an early co-inoc (at beginning of ferm), which appears to have done the trick. Woo Hoo. Hopefully I'll bottle the 16 w/o filtering. For now, a polish filter seems the way to go (modulo the above comment about cold stabilizing).


Thanks for the great comments Ian and Joe!
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Ed Kurtzman
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Clarifying Whites

#5 Post by Ed Kurtzman » March 8th, 2017, 8:00 pm

Dick Graff taught me his favorite trick for clarifying whites. Hit it with isinglass, then 24 hours later, stir in a bentonite addition. Then wait 1 month. He said that's the way he liked to get brilliantly clear wine without filtration. That was the only time in my life I ever used, or saw, isinglass. I've rarely fined or filtered whites ever since those days, in the mid '90s.

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John Oglesby
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Clarifying Whites

#6 Post by John Oglesby » March 13th, 2017, 10:53 pm

Ed - that's exactly opposite method of what I've always done! Bentonite first - then 24 hours later isinglass.
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Fintan du Fresne
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Clarifying Whites

#7 Post by Fintan du Fresne » March 14th, 2017, 2:17 pm

I've always used Ed's method. As the Isinglass is a protein, the bentonite does a great job of dropping the Isinglass out. I agree if you want clarity without filtration, Isinglass is the best method.

I personally find protein hazes offensive and easily fixed.

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Clarifying Whites

#8 Post by Judy Phelps » December 4th, 2017, 7:42 am

I use isinglass first, then bentonite, then cold stabilize. Although I have the past cold stabilized first, then added bentonite, I am not sure it matters much. But always isinglass first.

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larry schaffer
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#9 Post by larry schaffer » December 14th, 2017, 5:31 pm

I used to use a combo of isinglass and bento as well - and would always add the isinglass first, and then the bentonite, which would drop the isinglass out.

Nowadays, I do a small bento add prior to cold stabilization, cold stabilize as best as possible (the place I make my wine is far from perfect) and then use a cross flow prior to bottling. I'm not 'anti' the use of isinglass - just trying to do as few adds as possible and for my wines, it does not seem to make enough difference to warrant its use.

Cheers.

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