“When I keep your white wines in the fridge for some time, crystal-like deposits form that almost look like pieces of glass…” a client wrote to me recently. Tartaric acid is the main acid in wine – it plays a huge role in the balance and mouth feel of a wine. When Tartaric acid binds to potassium, at a low temperature, it forms beautiful little crystals. They are completely harmless and do not affect the taste of the wine.
Before bottling, you have the option of removing these. The most widely used technique is to cool the wine down to 0 degrees Celsius for a few days. The cold temperature stimulates the formation of diamond-like crystals, which will then drop to the bottom of the tank. While these crystals are in a solid state, you then filter the wine to remove the crystals – creating a tartrate stable wine.
The other option is to add things to the wine. A product that prevents the dropping out of the acid. I have been out of University for too long to remember exactly how this works.
Anyhow, I try to make my wines in as natural a way as possible. In most cases, I will only add a small bit of sulphur. So adding stuff to prevent harmless crystals is, for me, out of the question. The other option of cooling the wines down is also out of the question as I produce many smaller lots. To put these low volume wines through a hectic procedure like that is just too risky for me. The unnecessary uptake of Oxygen could be very harmful as well as the potential loss in wine. So I do nothing and bottle the wine as is. Whilst some might see it as a negative, for me, it’s a sign of minimum intervention winemaking. One needs to keep the focus where it counts: the quality. Amongst wine people it is called wine diamonds, sounds much more romantic.
So that is a bit of education for this lovely Thursday morning – well apparently it is cold in the Cape, but I am in Frankfurt (Germany) and it is 31 degrees here!
Moving along, I want to make use of this opportunity to release the best 2016 white blend in the cellar: ORBITOFRONTAL CORTEX 2016 – named after the part of your brain where conscious decisions are made.
Last year around this time I released Limbic 2015 as well as its counterpart Orbitofrontal Cortex 2015. As most of you know, the blend for Limbic was compiled by tapping into my subconscious with EEG technology and creating the best wine in the cellar according to my subconscious. We also then, with our conscious minds made Orbitofrontal Cortex 2015 – the best wine in the cellar made with our Conscious mind. Now Limbic was a once off but we decided to release the best white blend from our cellar as Orbitofrontal Cortex year-on-year. And from one year to the next, the combination of cultivars might vary. The style of the 2016 is very close to the 2015 OFC, just a bit better I think… It is a blend of Grenache blanc, Fernão Pires, Chenin blanc, Verdelho, Semillon and Clairette blanche.