Paroles de vignerons - Vinparleur - Winzer talk

Crumbs and crystals in #wine – when it looks odd, it may still taste good!

22 April 2016, by Sebastian Nickel

When wine brightly shines in our glass, we expect it to be particularly good and pure. But do not be misled by this immaculate purity. A slight haze in the wine, crystals at the bottom of the glass, a fine sediment that adheres to the bottle…they do not necessarely point to problems in taste. On the contrary, this may as well be a sign that the wine isn’t sterile, but still alive.

So let’s stay cool and find out the reason. A slight “cloudy” aspect in the wine often indicates that the wine has not, or only slightly been filtered. Small, glittering crystals in white wine or rosé are not sugar, but so-called tartrate cristals (naturally crystallized tartaric acid from grapes). A fine, coloured sediment in red wine may be made of anthocyanins, the molecules that give colour to red wine. They too derive from the grapes. And there are many other examples.

Curiously, the younger the wines are, the more we expect them to look particularly good and perfect. On the contrary, matured wines are suspicious, when there is no sediment at all… I admit, it’s not very pleasant to finish the last glass of (young or old) wine with a mouth full of sandy stuff on your tongue. Wines that have the features mentioned, should therefore be treated with caution and decanted before drinking. Of course, visual imperfections MIGHT be a sign for smell or taste inconvenience. But should this be the case, your nose and palate will tell during tasting.

So do yourself a favor and never evaluate the quality of a wine only by its colour and visual aspects. Finally, the wine is not being made to look at, but to drink it!



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