Wine Intel
The Ancient Technique American Winemakers Love Right Now
Trendspotting: "Whole Cluster" Fermentation
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The Trend: Whole Cluster Fermentation
Rather than crushing grapes, more American producers are fermenting whole clusters, stems and all.

The Reason: This semi-radical return to an ancient method, proponents believe, results in remarkable wines: brightly flavored, vividly colored, impressively structured and ageable. Some producers only leave a small percentage of grapes in whole clusters; others go all-in.

Wines to Try
20 percent Whole Cluster: 2012 Melville Estate Verna's Pinot Noir ($26)

80 percent Whole Cluster: 2011 Fausse Piste Garde Manger Syrah ($22)

100 percent Whole Cluster: 2012 Broc Cellars Paso Robles Cabernet Franc ($27)

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