Once in awhile, sometimes as I am tasting, sometimes while at
home, I stumble across a wine that has all kinds of particles at
the bottom of the bottle or on the neck While sediment may not look
very interesting, it actually usually means that you're drinking
some pretty good wine. Wine sediment can be an indicator of several
things: the wine is quite old (lucky you) and great care was put
into creating that bottle. Over time, the tannins and pigments in
the wine start to break down and thus create the sediment in the
bottom of the bottle. It often means that little or no filtration
was used during the winemaking process which allows a wine's personality
and flavors to develop over time. Due to this, sediment can be found
in some newer vintages as well. If you happen to imbibe a bit of
the good stuff don't worry, it won't hurt you. While it may not
taste all that great, it is believed to be full of antioxidants.
While sediment is usually associated with red wine, it can sometimes
be found in white wine as well in the form of tartrate crystals.
This just means that the wine was once exposed to very cold temperatures,
perhaps while being cold stabilized.
If you can see the sediment in the bottle but would prefer to
keep it out of your glass there are a few things you can do. First,
stand the bottle upright rather than keeping it over on its side
before serving. If you can do this a full day in advance, that will
give the sediment plenty of time to make its way to the bottom of
the bottle. To take this one step further, you can also decant the
wine, which just means pouring it into a separate serving container.
Not only does this prevent sediment from making its way into your
glass but it also allows the wine to open up and breathe. When pouring
the wine from its original bottle into the decanter, watch the neck
of the bottle closely to make sure you don't let any sediment flow
The moral of the story is that if you find a few speckles in
your glass go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back because
obviously you know how to pick 'em! Consider it a little gift from
the wine gods!