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Rather than crushing grapes, more American producers are fermenting whole clusters, stems and all. F&W's Megan Krigbaum tells why and names 3 wines to try.
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)