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Transcript: EP 12: Clarifying "Clean Wine" and other commonly used Wine Buzzwords

- Does old vine make a better wine? Pretty subjective, a really hot topic in tasting rooms. People be like, "Is this old vine? "Is it going to be extra good?"

- And then the sales guy's like "Yeah, tastes really good."

- "Yeah, it's gonna be awesome. "It's gonna explode your mouth."

- Hello and welcome to Cellar Rats into Seller Rats, again. I'm Jesse Inman.

- I'm Aaron Inman, and I would love a haircut, but my salon is closed, again.

- Just shave it bro.

- We're gonna talk about misused and commonly used wine terms today.

- Like what?

- Like old vine, are sustainable. We're gonna go into, I'm thinking, Okay, I don't remember.

- Because we're ex-cellar rats, we have a fair amount of experience with wine-making and so because of that, we had a lot of people in the teaching room that would come in and misuse terms left and just left and right.

- And we never misused terms when we worked in the tasting room in our twenties.

- No, I'm the smartest person I know. What I'm gonna do is, I'm gonna give you what I've learned many moons ago as the interpretation of the buzzword, and Aaron's gonna, he's done some research. He can convincingly tell us if the anecdotal version is right, or if the actual research version.

- Within reason here, I mean, I studied for the SATs the night before.

- [Jesse] Yeah.

- All right, so old vine.

- Old vine. So old vine, from what I've learned, mean the vines are old, but that literally means nothing. You can plant them tomorrow and the next day call them old vines by all legal definition.

- So Jesse is correct. There is no legal definition of old.

- But I thought the older the berry, the sweeter the juice.

- That is a rumor floated by AA or P.

- So in theory, older vines they have deeper roots, they don't have to be irrigated. They can be dry farm and so that means they give you more concentrated fruit, maybe the vine doesn't put off as much fruit but it's in equilibrium, has better balance and so maybe in theory ripens more evenly, its better, flavor components etcetera. Sustainability, next topic. So I think Aaron said this once. It's basically don't be an ecological , basically it's everything that's created in the vineyard is put back into the vineyard and reuse later, and there's multiple certifications, they all have different rules, they make you follow certain rules in order to get their certifications. But they're all slightly different, frankly, I like to know if somebody's being sustainable or not just because you like to think that they're putting that little bit extra work into the environment. Numeral three, that's number three in Spanglish. Dry wine.

- Dry wine.

- What is dry wine means? Well, it means different things to different people. In wine making, dry means no sugar.

- No fermentable sugar.

- No fermentable sugars, interesting.

- Any polysaccharides is technical sugar in the wine.

- I stand corrected. Okay, good to know.

- Dry has two meanings. There's the sensory component that most consumers think of, that's the tannins that are interacting. Basically tannic acid makes your saliva production go down in your mouth and interaction with the proteins and it makes your mouth literally dry. It can be confused with acidity too sometimes and they can also kinda play off of each other. So that's the sensory side of it and then from the wine making side of it, we mean no fermentable sugars. It's a simple thing but it could mean two different things, depending on who you answer.

- Yeah, well I learned a lot today. So my favorite topic, clean wine. Clean wine has been tossed around a lot. I've cleaned a lot of wine bottles from the inside out in my life. But what is that? What does that mean? It means I've drank a lot.

- The clean wine movement is really an extension of the go green, the healthy living, the keto, the paleo, that it's really more of a lifestyle. One of the things that they claim are fine like vegan friendly. So basically they're saying there's no fining agents, which gonna have animal products in them.

- Yeah, isinglass is made from sturgeon bladders, there's gelatin that people use the fine wines.

- I guess the one of the issues for me with marrying health lifestyle with alcohol, alcohol is technically toxic. If you wanna live a healthy lifestyle, don't drink that's fine.

- Yeah, it's like a vegan who's in like on the weekends railing cocaine. Here are some claims, from clean wine. Pairs well with a healthy lifestyle, what does that mean? No synthetic chemicals. I believe that means the chemicals are not synthetic.

- I get what they're saying there, nobody in the... We're in the world now of, GMO is completely the devil. And I understand the terminology there, but it's also if you drill down into it--

- I mean, I don't want pesticides knowingly in my wine.

- Organic pesticides are deadly too, that's the only thing I guess I take. Any issue there is the difference between the synthetic and the organic pesticides, organic pesticides are also toxic.

- Vegan, friendly. We already covered that one, but--

- Fining agents, basically your wine is not fine with an animal product, which is fining has been around it. Fining is used to remove haze, protein instability, different things in wine.

- Yeah, nobody threw like a dead puppy in there fermenting or something.

- Lucky Rock does not use dead puppy fur.

- He does make the wine. Organic, biodynamic or sustainable grapes.

- Okay, so they're sourcing grapes that are a little more third-party regulated.

- Yeah.

- Which is not a bad thing.

- And biodynamic for those who don't know it, I always say it's like organic with a little bit of voodoo sprinkled on top. Its just because they're moon cycles, they're pruning on moon cycles, they're racking on moon cycles. They have strategically buried horns filled with manure, buried throughout the vineyard. That's a little bit more but since the biodynamic vineyards they're really beautiful next to the ones that aren't.

- [Aaron] That aren't beautiful.

- The low-carb wine.

- Really what you wanna look for there is low alcohol. I mean, at the end of the day that's where a lot of your calories are coming from in wine.

- Keto and Paleo. So I guess I don't really... Ketogenic, you can't really have a ketogenic wine.

- That statement I don't necessarily understand. I think--

- It's gonna spike your blood sugar and ketones your body is working off of ketones which is broken down from fats. So if you're drinking wine, you're gonna kick yourself out of ketosis, faster than lickety-split.

- Yeah.

- That's real fast.

- And as far as Paleo goes, I don't necessarily know why they're saying that because it's also low carb, I assume.

- I guess in theory grapes could have fallen off onto the ground and hunter and gatherer came and put them into his mouth and got drunk off of it. So yeah sure that happens.

- Yeah.

- No added sugar, so.

- Most wines don't add sugar.

- Its a thing

- You legally can't put sugar in your wine. So let's just get rid of that.

- You can--

- In America.

- You can't to a finish wine, you can't add sugar back to it.

- Low-sulfite and no headache. That's an interesting one.

- Sulfite are a problem if you're allergic to sulfites a major problem.

- But how many people are allergic to sulfites?

- It is less than like, the percentage is less than one and it's like very low.

- Yeah. I think a lot of people get headaches from the alcohol and they get a lot of headaches from there's histamine production, especially in red wine. And so that's gonna give you a headache, it's gonna give you a little bit faster heart rate and you're gonna not sleep as well. And you probably gonna wake up with a headache the next day. I think we are of the same mind when we say clean wine kinda but we'll decide ultimately. I mean if the wine is good, the wine is good and if it's in some way cheaper form, better for me, sure I'll take it. We have never tasted clean wine before, but we kinda have because we tried this one in our rosé challenge.

- Celebrity Rosé.

- Yeah and so I think they classified this a clean wine?

- Yes.

- And so, I just have to myself about myself.

- We tend to be here at Lucky Rock, a little bit of cynics. And so when we see people that are kinda capitalizing on something, that's maybe a trend in eating or lifestyle or that... And try to monetize it to our detriment, we find it offensive.

- Yeah, like who puts snake tattoo art on their label on stuff.

- [Jesse] You know?

- So this is Avalline which is Cameron Diaz's brand.

- And what is she touting on the label?

- And this wine is from Spain made with organic grapes, free from added sugar, artificial colors, concentrates, its vegan friendly. Let's try this. It's coming out very clean.

- Wow, actually this glass was a little dirty and it's gotten a little cleaner since I put it in there.

- There's a little bit of like reduction to it too. Which is kinda a little sticky. It's got a lot of like rind to it.

- Yeah it's got a lot of minerality. I think it's a nice wine.

- Yeah, crisp, clean.

- There's touchy cat pee almost.

- Super solid like crisp white wine, little fruity, little funky. If you're looking for a wine that fits your lifestyle, there you go.

- Yeah clean. This one, clean wine from Italy. So Good Clean Rosé.

- You know, one thing that I find very interesting about these clean wines right off the back is so far the white wine from Spain and this rosé is from Italy. So--

- How far are you tracking that stuff?

- The common footprint on these clean wines is a little bit bigger than it might be coming from the local wine.

- A minimal intervention, process naturally and grown sustainably in small batches with fewer additives, you can drink tonight, and still play tomorrow morning. I ain't no player, I just crush a lot.

- Rest in peace, big bam.

- But I think this thing, all right. I think this is corked.

- It's a little... It's muted, so sometimes with corked wine, it's not so much like you just get all that cardboard right off the back. It's just like a little bit muted and if you really know the wine which we don't on this one, you could say, "Oh, there's something off "because I'm used to this wine having way more "like aromatics." This one's just pretty muted but then when you actually taste it which I'm gonna do this for you and taste it again.

- So when you get a corked wine, its a mold that will take chlorine which is used for cleaning, which makes perfect sense, and instead of the chlorine killing the mold the mold will take the chlorine and turn it into trichloroanisole TCA, that's a corked wine. So that mold it's been living in the cork or the chemical it's created will slowly leach into the wine over time getting a kinda a wet card ar at least it smells, perfect descriptor is next to a hot tub, there's chlorine, there's a Windex next to it, it smells exactly like corked wine but very intensive, yeah.

- The wine is okay, it's decent wine, but it's flawed by the cork.

- Yeah, okay, onto the next wine. Another good clean wine Toscana Rosso. So it's a red blend in theory, but it's got kinda a nice aged nose. It's a 2018 but shouldn't be as basic as it is. I think it's got a nice nose.

- In overall this wine is not that good by itself. Like a lot of

- Its good food wine.

- A lot of are, are better with food. This wine would be better with food because it's got pretty acidic which is making it pretty sour, pretty tart. And it's a little, like just kinda witchy.

- Yeah, I think it's okay.

- It's more of a food wine than just sitting around and sipping.

- Especially they don't get a hangover from it.

- We can get another bottle.

- Yeah, so clean wine, do they taste good? Yeah they're all right. If they cost five bucks more a bottle because they're clean, I don't think I'd buy them, but it's nice to know that they're touting minimal intervention. This doesn't even say anything about being organic or anything unbelievable.

- No, I think at the end of the day, these wines are fine. They're not blowing me away but they're certainly not poorly made.

- [Jesse] No.

- At the end of the day I think if you're looking for a wine that, you're driven by ideological choices then these fit that go out and get them and its a category that's evolved and now you can take advantage of them.

- Yeah and most brands without claiming clean wine if they're organic, they'll tell you. It's not that hard to find out. So if you like the other label better than this label buy that one if organic or whatever.

- I think most of the issue that we're taking is more on the marketing side of it. A lot of the language that they're using is fairly ambiguous. Like a lot of the terms that we said earlier like old vine and things that can kinda be left up in interpretation and people can say, "Yeah, but generally that old vine is this." Certainly, but it's not a legal definition so people can say whatever they want and a lot of the terms they're using are like the same.

- You don't call my mom fat you never even met my mom before. She's sweet, very slender lady.

- She used to be fat, so she's not even fat anymore.

- And with that.

- So the only truly clean wine is one that's been decanted off the sediment. See you on the next episode.