To filter or not to filter? That is the question.


Heisen House Vineyards' outdoor tasting room with historic Heisen barn in the background To filter or not to filter. The majority of wines made today undergo a filtering process that removes all particles with the final goal being a wine of great clarity and, perhaps, one that will age more quickly.

However some wineries are a bit more traditional in their approach and desire to keep the more natural state of wine through bypassing this step which may result in a hazier wine than some are accustomed to but it’s debated that the elements filtered enhance the nose and taste of the final product.

Cherish's pup posing in front of Heisen House Vineyards' historic barn

Heisen House Vineyards in Battle Ground is one such winery where traditional methods of winemaking are observed resulting in their unfiltered Viognier and Chardonnay. I had the good fortune to taste them both last Saturday and was particularly delighted by their Chardonnay. I’m a fan of the floral and smoky notes of Viognier but Chardonnay has always been hit and miss for me.

Even as I was tasting, I shared with Cherish (who was pouring on Saturday) that I used to say I didn’t like Chardonnay until I realized you can usually find a few people making every type of wine you don’t think you like and their style converts you. So, I’m open to Chardonnay and, in Heisen’s case, quite glad I no longer pass up a sampling. Again, unfiltered so it had a hazy appearance but the light tannin, acidity, butter and toast on the palate were elegant and my overall impression was an elegant wine that would pair well with creamy pasta sauces, scallops and crab cakes. Makes me hungry thinking about it again.

Heisen House Vineyards is dotted with lovely garden plots on the former pioneer homestead like this fragrant lavender

Their reds were lovely, as well, though they were all filtered. Cabernet Sauvignon is typically my favorite. Their Cabernet Franc was big, bold, slightly oaky with food-friendly tannins. Ah, but my second surprise of the day was their Reserve Pinot Noir. Again, not a huge Pinot fan (they tend to be too light and delicate for me) but the distinct black cherry was a double take making me wish I had a fillet of Sockeye to melt in my mouth with this deep, luscious wine.

Vines at Heisen House Vineyards in Battle Ground

A couple thoughts for this weekend and beyond:

September 27 noon-8 pm - Rusty Grape Vineyards 7th Annual StompFest where you can squish grapes between your toes with one beloved partner or foe you want to see walk away with grape-stained feet. Register for a stomping time on their site.

Oct 4 - Fifth Annual Crush Festival at Heisen House Vineyards