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As he's noted, "adjusting" can mean something as involved as nanofiltration or something as simple as the addition of water. "Deacidification is another one, taking a wine with a pH of 3.55 and a titratable acidity of 6.5 and making it into a 3.85/4.8. It means you get a big, fat, juicy Cabernet instead of one you have to lay down for ten years. It changes the mouthfeel -- tannins tend to become smoother and softer with a higher pH. Essentially, it just involves adding potassium carbonate to the wine; it binds the acid and precipitates out." He's even seen deacidification make the difference between an 88-point wine and a 91-point wine -- same grapes, same style, but the modified acidity helped garner 3 crucial points.

Becker regards these technological tweaks as tools, tools a winemaker may need when he "pushes the envelope of ripeness and stability. If you're using them, it doesn't mean you're a novice, it doesn't mean you don't know how to ferment. They're tools you can use to help shape the wine and to rectify problems. You prefer not to use it most of the time, but knowing how to use it is smart, good business."

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