ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

In response to using a coffee filter to separate sediment from wines, I was astonished and appalled when I saw an entire $1,000 bottle of Masseto poured through a coffee filter at a New York restaurant. I think it’s OK to pour the last ounce through a coffee filter, but filtering the entire wine makes it thinner and changes a very full mouthfeel to a much lighter and inauthentic mouthfeel. What do you think?

—Theodore M., New York

Dear Theodore,

I’m not “astonished and appalled” as much as confused. Was this a wine you ordered or did you just witness it at another table? Was there a conversation about how to handle the wine beforehand? (I’m also amazed at how many questions come in about coffee filters.)

In any case, I don’t agree that putting a wine through a coffee filter will necessarily change its mouthfeel. A coffee filter isn’t fine enough to turn a wine that was made in an unfiltered style into a filtered one. Sure, it might be able to capture the larger particles of sediment that develop as a wine ages, or it might help if a cork crumbles and gets into a bottle of wine, which can happen to the best of us. If that happened, it would be good wine service to offer to remove the cork particles by pouring the wine through a coffee filter.

—Dr. Vinny


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