Crystal Sediments in Wine

Sediments or deposits in wine always are a good sign. To the contrary, a natural deposit shows very good or outstanding quality of a wine. It usually does not occur in young wines - neither white nor red. Sediments in white wine are called "wine-crystals". They are actually a composit of crystals, chemically denominated as tartaric acid (wine’s fruit acidity). It does not affect the taste or bouquet of a wine.


The story is different for red wines. As the colour of the wine may be easily affected by a mechanical filtration of the wine, red wines of good quality are not filtered. But almost any customer will accept a wine that does not appear brilliant and lucid. Therefore every wine has to be classified after having gone through fermentation.


High quality red wines usually are fined with white of egg. After fermentation has finished, seeds, skins still "blind", are separated from the wine. Afterwards six to eight egg-whites are spread into each Barrique-cask, containing 225 litres of wine and "collect" the loose materials suspended and fall to the bottom of the cask. This process takes about six days and a filtration/racking remove all egg-white remaining from the wine.


As this process of clarification is not as efficient as a mechanical filtration, but less damaging very small parts of skins and other particles remain in the wine. During the time of aging these merge, settle down to the bottom of the bottle and form the deposit, which is of dark red colour, and obviously purely natural. It is possibly described as a concentrate of mainly tartrates of the wine.


As it can be seen easily, sediments in any kind of wine are absolutely natural, no defect and no reason for a complaint, but very often a sign of an old wine with an outstanding quality and proper aging.