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CraigW

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throwing crystalized sediment?!

by CraigW » Sun Aug 20, 2006 10:23 pm

Hey all,

anyone ever encountered this?

on Friday we had a bottle of St. Urbans-Hof riesling, 2004. Great wine. Love it to pieces.

But what was weird was when I poured myself the last glass (funny how that works, isn't it?) from the bottle, I received about 1/16 tsp. of yellowish, crystalized sediment - almost straight sugar crystals. The crystals were large - 1-2mm in diameter, and were stained yellow, the same color as the wine. And yes, they were crunchy and tasted of sugar, nothing else.

Anyone else ever encountered this? Are they sweetening the wine post-fermentation??
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Bob Parsons Alberta

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Re: throwing crystalized sediment?!

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Aug 20, 2006 10:46 pm

Hi Craig, hows things in Calgary?! We are putting together on offline at end of Sept here in Edmonton. Interested?
Robin has written about these wine crystals which are harmless!! Quote....."they are tartrate crystals formed as part of the aging process". I always seem to find them in good quality german wines, either on the cork or floating in the bottle. They are not a problem although try telling that to customers in the restaurant!!
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Howie Hart

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Re: throwing crystalized sediment?!

by Howie Hart » Sun Aug 20, 2006 10:47 pm

Craig - these are called "wine crystals" and are a precipitate of potassium bitartrate. They are a natural component of the wine and when refined are sold as cream of tartar. These tartrates are present in the grapes and become less soluble when the alcohol rises and when the temperature drops. Usually wines are cold stabilized by chilling the wine to below freezing for an extended period to precipitate out the crystals before bottling, but they can occur if the wine has been chilled for a long time in the bottle. They are harmless.
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Bob Henrick

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Re: throwing crystalized sediment?!

by Bob Henrick » Sun Aug 20, 2006 10:49 pm

Craig, these are the results of the wine not being filtered. It is a bit unsightly, as it cloudies the wine, but it doesn't alter the flavor(s) at all. Sometimes you might get crystals that look like stalactites in a wine and that is is tartaric acid that has crystallized due to the wine being left in some cold temperatures and it NOT being cold stabilized by the wine maker. Again, it won't hurt the wine, but will make it unsightly.
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John Treder

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Re: throwing crystalized sediment?!

by John Treder » Sun Aug 20, 2006 11:12 pm

What everybody's saying. The majority of wines I buy are unfined and unfiltered, and most of them have a good deal of both sediment and crystals in them after two or three years in the cellar.

I'm lazy and don't bother to decant, and the last couple of glasses always have some stuff in them. It affects the taste very slightly if you happen to slurp some up, but it doesn't affect things enough to affect my rather tolerant judgment of the bottle. Yes, the crystals are sweet/salty, and the sludge (actually bits of skin, pulp and stem <g>) makes the basic taste "stronger" and "more tannic" and usually more characteristic of the varietal.

It happens with both whites and reds, but I've not seen it in a rose, yet. OTOH, I don't drink much rose.
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James Roscoe

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Re: throwing crystalized sediment?!

by James Roscoe » Sun Aug 20, 2006 11:34 pm

John - Santa Clara wrote: OTOH, I don't drink much rose.


BARBARIAN!! Rose is an absolute must in the heat and humidity of the east coast. I am also an acid lover and the best roses give acid up in spades. There are some good ones from California, but I prefer the examples from the southern Rhone or Languedoc.
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Bob Parsons Alberta

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Re: throwing crystalized sediment?!

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Aug 21, 2006 12:39 am

See my notes earlier this month! The Artazuri Rose had big gobs of crystals. Pinky ones oh la la.
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CraigW

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Re: throwing crystalized sediment?!

by CraigW » Mon Aug 21, 2006 11:55 am

very interesting!

Thanks gents. I've learned something new!

:)
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CraigW

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Re: throwing crystalized sediment?!

by CraigW » Mon Aug 21, 2006 1:22 pm

Oh and Bob, sorry to not have responded to your message - end of Sept looks busy for me... In the Okanagan for the fall wine festival. Actually, in the Okanagan in two weeks as well for the sixth annual Canadian wine awards... busy busy.
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John Treder

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Re: throwing crystalized sediment?!

by John Treder » Mon Aug 21, 2006 11:07 pm

I'm not on the east coast. :D And I'll happily drink Zin when it's 90 out here, because it isn't gloppy with humiditititity. :wink:
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James Roscoe

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Re: throwing crystalized sediment?!

by James Roscoe » Tue Aug 22, 2006 12:27 am

John - Santa Clara wrote:I'm not on the east coast. :D And I'll happily drink Zin when it's 90 out here, because it isn't gloppy with humiditititity. :wink:


Your loss. OTOH I love a good Zin.

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