I have always wondered but never asked - is cloudy wine a bad thing? What does it indicate?

I have had wines in the past that were cloudy and were terrible and I have had cloudy wine that was great. But, for the love of all that is holy- what does it mean!! Big Grin


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Original Post
As you have noted, it can be either good or bad.

Unfined and unfiltered Chardonnays, like Kistler and Martinelli, frequently look cloudy. It's a good thing.

Rule of thumb: if you have a cheap wine that is cloudy, chances are it's a bad thing.

Sometimes, whites that get too cold seem cloudy -- it's a toss-up as to whether good or bad...

Good rule of thumb highdesertwine.
Similarly, unfined/filtered pinot can often be very cloudy. Bass Phillip is a Victorian pinot producer, considered one of the best wineries in Australia for the variety, and some of his pinots are almost opaque they have so much sediment. Cheaper pinots all tend to be fined/filtered, so should appear clear. Any cloudiness in these wines likely represents bacterial spoilage, though this is a rare problem with modern winemaking practices.

Wine tastes better upside down.
Wineries normally 'cold stabilize' a wine to prevent this happening. To do with tartrates falling out of solution when a wine is chilled. Wineries only do it for asthetics, to avoid questions like this. The wine quality should not be affected.

Ever enjoyed a fine single malt on the rocks and experienced the same phenomonen? Same thing. It is only asthetics. All white wines are generally cold stabilized, very few reds are. Wineries assume people wont chill their reds, and if they do, they wont notice cloudiness of crystals through the darker glass.

"Wine Diamonds" are usually found in white wines whose wineries do not have the luxury of having temperature controlled vats. Perhaps some of the smaller boutique wineries will have this crystalline occurrance because they are not able to chill the wine before it goes into the bottle.
Yanti Rowland
Having just watched the presidential debate, I'm in the mode of responding either: "It depends", or "There are two sides to everything".

So what would they say about cloudy wine? Beats me. But I can tell you what I think: I don't like it. In the scheme of wine characteristics: Nose; Color; Taste; Layers; Balance; Clarity / Cloudiness, or more technically measured-- "turbidity", I put it somewhat lower on the list. But I've had a number of cloudy wines (not to be confused with "opaque" or "extracted"), and I consider it a "flawed" wine.

Cloudiness can also go beyond the visual aspect of the wine. There is often some linkage to texture / mouth feel, and can be some linkage to the nose of the wine. I just don't want my wine to taste or look like it was made in a blender. I believe that Mr. Parker has so beat the "unfiltered / unfined" drum, that many winemakers have come to believe that doing anything to a wine to get the chunks out is a step backwards. Of course, there is a matter of degree in this discussion (and that is where the situation is measured... via "turbidity" testing). I don't think all wine needs to look like a bottle of Evian, but I sure don't want it to resemble pineapple juice either.

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Originally posted by JoeyOz:

Ever enjoyed a fine single malt on the rocks and experienced the same phenomonen?


A drop of water maybe, but ice? NEVER!

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I Sell 2002 Martinelli Charles Ranch Chard where I work and it is very cloudy. Some people have sent it back. It is hard to tell someone that the wine is OK, I actually don't mind a bottle like that coming back because it's damn good and inexpensive..
Unfined/unfiltered wines do not need to be cloudy, if the work in the vineyard is done GENTLY, and the work in the cellar is done GENTLY, and the juice is pressed GENTLY and handled GENTLY, minimizing solids in the must. There are some real "rackmasters" out there in the industry, working with surgeon-like precision and care to deliver us a great tasting, high-quality, commercially clean and acceptable product. The comment about the unfiltered, hazy chardonnay being sent back is a key point - despite what Parker or anyone else says, consumers do not understand or want cloudy wine. There is a point at which it is commercially unnacceptable. Some Marcassin Chardonnays I have had looked absolutely aweful, and I believe Ms. Turley probably thinks it's the right thing to do.

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