Sunday, May 16, 2010

Stuff You Find In Wine Bottles

It's been a while, but a month or so ago, I uncorked a 2006 bottle of Merlot from Whitman Cellars.  Color was good, cork was wet, tasted just fine.  Until I got to the last sweet sip, and that's when the glass-like substance crunched against my teeth and tongue. ......... gggggihck!  What's this!!

As it turns out, sediment is what it was, and "normal" is also what you could call it.  No matter - it's still gross when it hits the gullet.  Naturally I contacted Whitman Cellars to tell them it raised quite an alarm with me and my guest.  Ms. Denise Musick was quite accomodating and offered to send me a replacement bottle for my trouble.  And she made good on her offer, the replacement bottle arrived this week.  She also sent this information to me regarding sediment, and which I will share with you.

"Sediment in a wine bottle is a very normal thing, especiall for wine bottles that are more than a couple years old.

Sediment is not a bad sign but in fact may indicate a superior wine.  It's the natural separation of bitartrates, tannins, and color pigments that occurs as wines age.  Although generally associated with finer red wines, sediment occasionally appears in white wines, usually in the form of nearly colorless crystals.  For port drinkers, the term crust, synonymous with sediment, is often used.  Sediment should be allowed to settle completely before the wine is decanted into another container so that when the wine is served none of the deposit will transfer to the glass.  You can also simply allow the bottle to sit upright for a while until all of the sediment settles to the bottom, then pour the wine off slowly leaving the sediment in the bottom.

Many wines are stored in an upside down position to keep the cork moist during aging.  In this case, sediments may congregate around the neck of the bottle and be visible upon uncorking.  You can simply wipe the inside of the neck clean with your finger or a light paper towel an then let the bottle settle a while before serving."

Thanks Denise!  I appreciate the education and the complimentary bottle of wine. 

1 comment:

  1. Hey, I appreciate the education as well...I learned something new about wines today