Sunday, June 13, 2010

Ewww, what's up with the purple rock-salt on the bottom of my cork??

Welcome to the world of unfiltered, natural wine! Most wine consumed in the United States today is filtered and goes through different processes to remove sediments and particles that occur during winemaking, producing what Americans have come to accept as normal for our wines, a CRYSTAL CLEAR APPEARANCE.

Have you ever had a wine that contained sediment, or salt-like crystals?

A few months ago I opened a bottle of Cabernet and noticed that the bottom of the cork that contacted the wine had tartaric crystals - known in the industry as ‘wine diamonds.’
These are harmless, and are the result of a wine not having undergone a process called ‘cold stabilization’.

Wine aficionados in the Old World are known to seek out bottles with ‘wine diamonds’ as a sign of quality: it shows that the wine has not been robbed of its structure through unnatural chilling, and it is a sign of a well-matured wine. Maybe it's because they have a longer history of winemaking in those countries that people have become accustomed to wine diamonds and accept them. They know that, wine diamonds will have added roundness to the wine by subtracting some of the acid from it. Hans Gsellmann, head winemaker of the famous Gsellmann & Gsellmann winery in Austria, explains it this way:

“Part of the grapes acid are tartrates, aka salt. As the wine ripens these tartaric acid crystals fall out. It’s a natural process a wine will go through on its path to the peak of its development. When you see these flakes at the bottom of the bottle or on the cork, you can be almost certain that you are opening the wine at the right time. You should consider yourself lucky.”

According to Wikipedia: "Not all producers decide to thoroughly clarify and stabilize their wines, believing that some of a wine's flavor, aging potential and complexity come from some of the suspended particles. Wine experts, such as Tom Stevenson, notes that techniques like filtration can improve wine quality in moderation but can also diminish quality if used excessively. The consumers of some premium wines (such as Bordeaux and Port) may expect to see tartrates and sediment from a wine that has been aging and not thoroughly filtered."

Sound complicated? All I know is that the wine was delicious!

Salud` KathyD

No comments:

Wine Events

There was an error in this gadget

Popular Posts

Total Pageviews