Emu Sherry - what gives?
- DockPotato Oct 7, 2013 10:13 AM
My wife, and occasionally myself, enjoy a glass of dry sherry. In Toronto we had a decent selection to choose from but since moving to a small town felt lucky to have Alvear's Fino stocked at our local LCBO.
So today, it was with some pleasure that I saw the familiar Emu Fino bottle which we used to buy occasionally. It's decent and considerably less than Alvear's so I decided to get Oz product instead.
Well, it's no longer Sherry. The Australians have abandoned the contolled name and all their Sherry types are now known as "Apera" - a play on apperitif. I'm more than okay with that and applaud the move.
However, on the back, I find, "Contains: Milk, Eggs, Fish..." which set me back.
Surely those ingredients part of a process, a filtering coagulant perhaps? Can someone enlarge on this?
"Winemakers can use several different fining agents. They include gelatin and sturgeon bladder, as you mention, as well as egg whites, milk casein, seaweed and clay. Technically, no trace of these fining agents should remain in the finished wine, but as a safety precaution, some countries require allergen labeling that indicates traces may remain if the product was used in fining wines."
It's part of the ongoing pathetic nanny labelling regulations/sympathetic label information for those with allergies/encouragement to hypochondriacs.
There no chance at all that this drink will have all those ingredients in it, there is less than an infinitesimal chance it will have ven one of them.
As you say, all three are ingredients in fining wine. After the normal processes of winemaking, including racking (moving wine from barrel to barrel to leave sediment behind) there are microscopic bits of debris that will give the impression of a cloudy wine when the bottle is moved. To get rid of these and make a totally clear bright wine you can force wine through tiny filters, but that is said to strip out some flavour, or you can use a fining agent.
Beaten egg whites, which have been used since antiquity, are placed into the barrel and they generate a tiny electrical charge that attracts debris to stick to it, It sinks to the bottom and theclear wine is pumped off, leaving the eggwhites and debris behind. (That's why there are so many cake recipes and dishes thatuse egg yolks in traditional wine regigions).
Other finingagents are issinglass made from the swim bladders of fish and casein made from milk is also used. (also bentonite, a type of clay also known as fullers earth and used in cat litter, but that doesn't yet rate an allergy warning)
Unless they are buying base wine from different wineries to blend together only one or other of the fining agents would likely have been used.
Listing all three seems like a way to cover themselves if they change method from vintage to vintage.
Since it is difficult and expensive to prove that a wine doesn't contain a trace of something having this label covers them from having to do the tests and defend themselves if sued.
Same way food manuafacturers cover themselves with labels that say 'may contain nut's' or 'prepared in a kitchen where nut products are also processed'