Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"Unfiltered Wine" the Wine of Yesterday, Today!

For this post, we're going to go into the 'Wine Cave', shut and lock the large steel doors behind us and hop on board our 'wine time machine'. We're going on a secret mission to discover how the finest wines in the world were made long before the corporate wine machines took over. Before we start our mission, we must be clear on our purpose. We must promise to keep an open mind, share our findings with as many people as possible and to add as much as possible to our wine knowledge and sense of 'empowerment'. OK, ready? Set the year to 1956, turn the key to 'back in time', pull back the lever and we're off to my childhood home. We're going there to watch a segment of one the most popular TV shows of the day...the "I Love Lucy Show (the Grape Stomping episode)". Oh, by the way, as we travel, no one can see us...we're invisible. Ah, there it is, that old Raytheon B&W TV. Look what's on, there's Lucy and  Ethel stomping around in a large vat of grapes. They're in Italy. There's lots of laughter as Lucy and Ethel fall into and get covered in grape juice. It's easy to see why this show was so popular. Comedy like this is timeless.
 So, what's the purpose of this lighthearted diversion? Well, quite simply, to show us that wine should be fun, exciting, memorable and made the way that Lucy and Ethel were making it. You say, what! What do you mean the way that they were making it? What I mean is, great wine should be created in a handcrafted and hands-on fashion. For hundreds of years, wine was made exactly as Lucy and Ethel were making it. To get at the vitality of the grape, all manner of means were utilized, including crushing the grapes with their bare feet. By our standards of today, creating these wines of yesterday took a lot of work. To them, however, it was simply a full measure of 'Love and Passion'. That my friends is what's missing in most wine making today. Oh yes, there are still wine makers in Italy making wines with this same love and passion of yesterday. However, they are getting fewer with each passing year.
What I'm about to say next are, two words, that will change your life. So, please, write them down, etch them into your memory and cherish them forever. These two words are..."UNFILTERED WINE"!!
For, at least, the last 30~40 years most commercially produced wines have been...'Filtered, Blended, Mass Produced and created with Corporate Profit Motives (not Love & Passion) as the incentive. The wine created from the grapes that Lucy and Ethel were stomping in that vat, would have been an "UNFILTERED WINE. It would have been naturally gravity filtered for a very long time, perhaps years. That wine of yesterday would have retained the 'Flavor, Taste and Bouquet' of the grape. Unlike the commercially filtered wines of today, there was no need to add a bunch of weird external flavors and tastes to their wine. Its taste would have stood on its own two feet.
From now on, our goal will be to seek out and relish only 'Unfiltered Wines'. It's not going to be easy. Most of these wine artisans have disappeared. You'll know when you've found a precious gem when your taste buds do hand springs. If you find a wine maker that answers 'Yes' to the following questions, give him/her all your business forever & ever and get all your friends (and strangers too) to carry their banner. Firstly, is the wine ' Unfiltered'? Second, is the wine fermented 'With the Skins' for the entire fermentation process? Third, is the wine 'Aged (in glass), at least, One Year' before bottling? Fourth, is the wine 'Unblended"? Lastly, and probably the highest bar to meet, do they grow 'All their Own Grapes'. Any wine maker that meets these standards should be considered...a 'National Treasure'!!
So, back to the future we go. With 1956 just a memory, we touch down in our own present, in our own 'Wine Cave'. Unlocking the Wine Cave door, we venture back out into the sunshine. This time, however, we're like a bird dog on a scent. We're out to rediscover the wines of yesterday. Those rarest of all wines! Those "UNFILTERED WINES" to die for!!

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