Sediment is the term commonly used to describe the left over “lees” or “dregs” in a bottle of wine. It is composed of residual yeast, grape seeds, and other particles that settle to the bottom of a vat of wine after fermentation and aging.
Is Wine Sediment normal?
Yes. The first thing I will emphasize is that not only is sediment harmless (it is the organic content of the grape), but it is the sign of quality wine, with fining and filtering avoided, since they remove many of the quality components of awine. And rather than being a short cut, it is actually the labor-intensive requirement of making fine wines.
What are the different causes of sediment?
Sediments in red wine are typically of two types.
The smaller, grainier types are colloids of pigment, polysaccharides, and protein. They typically form much more slowly in wines meant for aging, and will start to form slight notice able deposits after a few years. It doesn’t matter if the wine has been fined or filtered, an older red wine will always form some sediment; careful decanting is recommended if you wish to avoid transferring the sediment to your glass.
2. 红葡萄酒中第二种沉淀物，是由酒石酸结晶体（酒石酸氢钾） 中的钾和酒石酸自然存在于葡萄和葡萄酒。 这些晶体，是在较低的温度下形成的。当红葡萄酒从装瓶到上市，不幸的是，它们可能会低温下 (零下 5°度) 运输、仓储、 或储存在地下室或冬天寒冷的车库。如果你在一个低温的环境中，拿着红葡萄酒，您几乎可以创造出一些酒石酸晶体。酿酒师唯一的选择就是在葡萄酒装瓶前进行冷却结晶。这是通过几个星期将葡萄酒冷却至接近冰点的温度，然后过滤装瓶。这样的方法对那些价格便宜的红酒，或者桃红酒可接受，但并不适合那些具有陈年能力的高品质红葡萄酒。
The second type of sediment is caused by the formation of potassium bitartrate crystals (cream of tarter) from the potassium and tartaric acid naturally present in grapes and wine. The creating of these crystals and their ability to precipitate, or salt out, is enhanced by cooler temperatures. When red wines are bottled and shipped to market, unfortunately, they may be exposed to cold temperatures (less than 50° F) during shipping, warehousing, or storage in a basement or garage in the dead of winter. If you hold a red wine at a colder temperature for an extended period of time, you will almost always create bitartrate crystals. The only option a winemaker has is to cold stabilize the wine before bottling. This is done by chilling the wine for several weeks at near freezing temperatures and then filtering the wine before bottling. This is perfectly acceptable for inexpensive red wines, or even rosé, but not for age-worthy reds.
Why it does not reflect an issue with the wine？
All types of sediment are a naturally occurring by-product of the wine making and ageing process of red wines. These diments are harmless, but they can be unpleasant for your drinking experience. Believe it or not, sediment in wine and ‘unfiltered’ wines are often touted as a sign of quality. Wine enthusiasts observe sediment in abottle like vitamins that keep the wine alive and well.
In theory all wines should probably form tartrate sediment, but modern wine production has introduced cold stabilization and fine filtration, which remove most to all tartrates. More expensive wines that have been created according to more traditional methods, thus eschewing cold stabilization and filtration, are more likely to produce tartrate sediment. People who prefer the traditional methods of wine production, which includes a lot of wine drinkers in France and Italy, will treat the presence of tartrate sediment as a sign of quality.
At the Ponty winery, we make every effort to avoid fining or filtering our wines to ensure that the full bouquet and textural qualities of the wine make it to your glass. 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 its native ability to change.
What to do when your wine has sediment?
So, it’s best to stand the bottle up a few days before drinking and then decant the wine off the sediment into a clean decanter or just another clean bottle. To remove sediment before serving wine, simply decant the wine by pouring it slowly from the bottle into a decanter. Stop pouring when you start to see the wine sediment enter the neck of the bottle, and then allow the wine in the decanter to air out a little bit before pouring it into glasses.