“What this stuff in my wine?” Every now and then a customer will experience a couple teaspoons of sludgy, pulpy stuff at the bottom of their bottle and ask us this question. Is my wine defective? Is it safe that I just polished off this bottle? The answers are no and yes, respectively. In fact, we love a little something solid (technical term: sediment) in our wine, and here’s why.
It’s easy to forget, but at the end of the day, wine is just another kind of fruit juice. And just like a glass of OJ or a bottle of Snapple, you might find some pulp kicking around in there, and it’s totally safe to drink (unlike Snapple, you won’t find any fun facts on the cork, but we’ll save that for another blog post). Basically, sediment comes from the skin of the grape, which is the part that contains pigments, tannins, and antioxidants – a couple key factors that make red wine both delicious and totally good for you. Different winemakers have different styles, and although all wine on the market is filtered to the point that it’s safe to drink, some winemakers choose to back off after that. Why? A couple teaspoons of the sludgy stuff can actually help the wine develop more fully while it’s in the bottle. Not a bad trade of for a little unsightly sediment, right?
A couple of our winemakers take this approach to winemaking, so look no further if you want to try out a wine that’s on the “lightly filtered” end of the spectrum. Lot 21 French Fusion from the Languedoc, Lot 4 Shiraz Viogner and Lot 37 Shiraz (both from McLaren Vale, Australia) have been known to turn up with a little sediment every now and then. If you do see some solid, decant the wine first so it doesn’t end up in your glass or your mouth. Like we said, it’s harmless and helps develop a wine’s flavor, but on it’s own it can be bitter. Then raise your glass and enjoy a wonderfully and carefully crafted wine.