Friday, September 21, 2018
Make mine Scrambled
Egg whites, or albumen, is one such fining agent used to clarify red wines. Egg whites are particularly good for removing tannin particles, especially green or harsh tannins, rendering the wine more round and soft in texture.
When wine finishes fermenting there are still suspended particles of dead yeast cells, fragments of grape pulp, skins and stems, tartrates and colloids (tannins, proteins and phenolic particles) floating throughout the liquid. Add eggs helps to clear these particles and provide that fine clear look one expects from a white wine. Gravity, itself can do this but the egg speeds up the process. Depending on the size of the egg, between three and eight egg whites are used within a 225 liter barrel of red wine.
The proteins in egg whites, milk, fish bladders, seaweed or volcanic clay are known to attract and bind to these tannins or solids, which then clump together and fall out of suspension to the bottom of a barrel or tank. Then the wine is then typically “racked,” or moved to another container, leaving behind the sediment and fining agent.
Worried about allergies most researchers say there is not enough egg particles left in the finished product to worry about. However, they do no all agree.