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Sediment
by Staff
Magazine Issue: Internet Only
Some wines, especially ports and older vintages, throw sediment. Sediment consists of small particles that, over time, coagulate and drop out of the wine. In no way does sediment mean a wine is no good. As wine ages, a small amount is thrown naturally.

When pouring or decanting a bottle that contains sediment, care must be taken not to stir the deposit before serving or the wine will have a cloudy appearance in the glass. Sediment is disturbed by shaking the bottle or by turning the bottle upside down. So when handling a wine with sediment, do not handle or disturb it unnecessarily.

The sediment in white wine is usually crystalline. The crystals are heavy and fall to the bottom when the bottle is upright. These colorless tartrate crystals do not affect the taste of the wine. The sediment in red wine is bitter and should never be allowed into the glass.

When aging wine properly (on its side -- to keep the cork moist), sediment will accumulate along the "down" side of the bottle. The best way to settle the sediment to the bottom of the bottle before consuming the wine is to carefully stand it up for at least 24 hours before opening and pouring. This will allow all the sediment to fall.

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