Originally Posted by Mad Cook
No need to be rude. I was only reporting what I've been told not what I know to be true.
The ox (or bull's)-blood story used to be (and still sometimes is) told about a Hungarian red called Egri Bikavér. It's largely apocryphal in that case, dating from the 16th century when bulls blood is said to have been added to a batch of wine to boost the bravery of Hungarian soldiers defending the country against the Turks.
Blood wasn't actually a part of the French wine that you drank. It was used as an ingredient of a product widely used as finings to clear wine. It was indeed, banned in the 1990s as a result of BSE
If I came off as rude, I apologize. That certainly wasn't my intent.
You are correct about oxblood being used as a fining agent.
I've read some of the articles you mention where people have expressed concerns about wine additives, some of which do contain what might be considered odd ingredients; egg whites, ground crustacean shells, inactive yeast, etc. What most of these folks don't seem to understand is the process of "fining," or clarifying a wine. These natural compounds are in fact added to wine and later removed. Their purpose is to bind chemically to unwanted proteins and toxins (primarily yeast waste material) and separate them from the wine. The sediment falls to the bottom of the tank or cask so the clear wine can be separated. In other words, fining agents are used to clarify the wine, but aren't part of the finished product.
In my own wine making, I try to use as few of these things as are needed. Most of the time nothing is needed at all. Wine stored in barrels normally falls sparkling clear within about 6 months without any intervention whatsoever. When I make white wine, I sometimes have to use a clay based compound called bentonite, which binds to and removes floating proteins that will otherwise cause a wine to appear cloudy.
For the most part, I stay away from any animal based products like those I mentioned above. I don't have a problem with them myself, but people understandably sometimes get the heebie-jeebies if you tell them you used fish bladders or egg whites in the process.