Well, hello everyone! It’s Vidal, Blue Mountain Vineyards resident Rottweiler and world class greeter.
Brrrrr! It’s been a cold few weeks! Surprisingly, the cold isn’t too hard on the vines right now as they are “asleep” for the winter and the snow helps insult the vines. Ice is our biggest concern during winter, and thank goodness we haven’t had much of that this year!Not to mention I don’t walk too well on the ice, as I’m sure most you don’t, either.
So on to the real reason I’m writing. I had a customer ask a question this weekend and I thought it would be good to share it with all of you. He asked, “What are deposits of sediment in red wine? Is the wine still okay? Will it hurt me?”
The first thing I’ll say is that not only is sediment harmless (it is the organic content of the grape), but it is the sign of quality wine, because of little fining and filtering, since they remove many of the quality components of a wine. And rather than being a short-cut, it is actually the labor-intensive requirement of making fine wines.
The tumultuous act of fermentation presses the grapes to where parts of the stem, seed and skin are pulverized to the point where they become so small they disappear. Seemingly, that is. The fact is, they are just suspended in the wine. As the wine ages, these tiny particles begin to attract each other and form a small mass that is now visible to the naked eye. The longer the wine ages, the more chance they have to come together and eventually will either form particles which fall to the bottom of the bottle or will actually cling to the side or bottom.
Sediment typically forms slowly in wines meant for aging, especially red wines. It doesn’t matter if the wine has been fined or filtered, an older red wine will always form some sediment.
Wine is a dynamic, natural beverage that is meant to change and transform over time. One year it will be quite showy and effusive, the next shy and in retreat, followed the next year by something quite different than before. Sediment is evidence of wines native ability to change.
Remember, the best way to avoid the sediment is to pour slowly so the sediments catch in the shoulder of the bottle, which can be done either into a decanter or directly into the glass.
So, bottles with sediments are by no means signs of failure, more often of quality! Enjoy!