What is wine sediment? And do they affect the quality of the wine?

  • Tuesday, Day 20/04/2021
  • YOU ASK - SOMMELIER ANSWERS

    What is sediment in wine?

     

    1. What is wine sediment and is it dangerous?

    My answer is that it absolutely does not affect the quality of the wine.

    Alcohol residues, also known as sediments, are considered byproducts of wine production. when sediment, dregs or the little crystals also known as “wine diamonds” appear in the bottom of a glass, they present no danger. It’s often a sign that the wine was made with minimal intervention. The sedimentation in wine is completely natural and does not harm the quality of the wine. Except, the wine will not be clear, the color will be slightly cloudy, causing loss of aesthetics (in a certain aspect).

     

    2. Causes of sediment formation in wine?

    The first is that it is present throughout the production process until the wine is bottled. The sediments now include (yeast cells, grape skins, seeds left over from the production process, and Tartaric acid) that settle to the bottom of a steel or wooden barrel after the end of the fermentation. Most of winemakers always want to comb the sludge before bottling in order to make the product clearer and brighter. Besides, there are still a few wine houses with little or no residue, in order to enhance the flavor and texture of the wine.

    Second, sediments often appear in old wine bottles. Because at that time in wine, Phenolic molecules combine together to form Tannin Polymers continuously settling on the bottom of the bottle. Usually, wines will appear sludge 10 years after the harvest season (or earlier), so don't be too surprised to see an old wine bottle with sediment in the bottle.

     

    3. Sediment in wine is formed in two forms:

    Tartrates crystals:

    Tartraric acid is one of the three main acids found in wine grapes, along with Malic acid and Citric acid. Each type of acid plays an important role in the winemaking process and contributes to a wide variety of flavors and textures.

    Malic acid plays a role in the aroma of alcohol, it is more known during the production process through the metabolism of Malolactic enzymes - During Malolactic fermentation (MLF), Malic acid (stronger and more acidic). Usually found in green apples is converted to Lactic acid (softer, smoother) found in yogurt.

    Tartraric acid is the acid that plays the most prominent role, as they help induce acidity, which affects the final taste of wine. But they are easily affected by temperature, so when experiencing cold temperatures for a long time, Tartraric acid will separate from the liquid and turn into solid crystals. You will often see in white wine and rose wine, this crystal clings under the cork like diamonds, so it is also known as "Wine Diamond".

    Sediment in red wine

    According to the red wine production process, the entire bunch of grapes will be crushed to make wine, including (shell, seed, water, stem), creating a mixture containing sediment. During the manufacturing process, sediment or sediment will settle to the bottom of the barrel and be removed (or not), but very fine residue remains. After a long life in the bottle, these fine deposits will break apart and link together to form a larger sediment, which we often see in old red wine bottles.

     

    4. How to remove sediment in wine bottles

    Although sediments are considered harmless to the quality of wine, they also cause discomfort in your wine glass. Therefore, I will guide you the following steps to separate the bass from alcohol:

    If you find sediment in your wine, then don't shake the bottle but let it sit for a few days before opening the cork.

    Open the cork, place the bottle horizontally and place the candle (or flashlight) under the neck.

    Next, pour the wine slowly and slowly into the decanter, pausing as the sediment moves to the neck of the wine bottle.

    Now, the wine has been removed from the sediment and ready to be enjoyed.

     

    Do not hesitate to call 1900 636 749 or directly visit WeWine stores nationwide for best advice. At WeWine, we also sell decanters to help you filter the sediments at home,.

    Sommelier Trương Lê Như Uyên

    Source:

    • https://www.winespectator.com/articles/how-to-serve-wine-decanting
    • https://www.winemag.com/2019/03/05/gunk-in-my-wine-sediment/
    • https://vinepair.com/wine-blog/what-the-heck-are-tartrates-and-do-they-signal-that-something-is-wrong-with-the-wine/