Clarity in wine

I first started working in the wine trade in 1983 and spent 3 years studying with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, still the leading educational body in the wine trade around the world.

One of the things that one is taught to observe in a wine before tasting is the clarity of the wine. Anything less than clear and bright on my tasting notes would have received a ‘question mark’. Is the wine faulty?

We have seen a lot of changes in winemaking since then. A move to stainless steel, better hygiene and spotless wineries and then a swing back towards more traditional methods with natural yeasts, less filtering and no fining. So, it is with this in mind that today, when I observe a wine and it isn’t strictly clear and bright I’m more likely to ask myself a series of different questions.  Is this a natural wine? Is this an organic wine? Is this a wine that has not been fined or filtered?

Wines that have had little intervention in the winery are more likely to produce a sediment over time and sometimes can be a little cloudy upon first sight.  It certainly isn’t an indication that a wine is faulty, in fact it can be an indication that is has not been manipulated.

How times change.