Wine Talk

Snooth User: Richard Foxall

Sediment in the neck

Posted by Richard Foxall, Feb 28, 2011.

So I've been drinking wine since I was a kid, but I have no idea what the right answer to this question is, and it just occurred to me as I poured a 2003 Bord the other night. 

I store my wine laying on its side.  (duh!) The sediment settles on that side of the bottle and, because the fill level is high, up the neck.  A day or two before opening it, I stand the bottle up. Standard procedure, so far.  Then it's time to open the wine.  Should I pour it with the side that was down on the upper side, so the wine does not travel through the sediment and dislodge it by sluicing through it and re-dissolving it, or is that worse, the sediment is now hanging over the wine, risking gravity causing chunks of sediment to fall back into the wine?  Is sediment sufficiently sticky that I don't have to worry about it falling off the non-porous glass? Oddly, all the how-to pages about pouring wine ignore this basic question, just urging the first steps and careful pouring.  But one way must be better than the other. 

Replies

20
6689
Reply by dmcker, Mar 1, 2011.

First of all, you should store it at a slight angle to get that sediment out of the neck and down into the body of the bottle, as close to bottom as possible. This is where the type of racking you have is key, of course.

If there's a lot of sediment, I usually stand it up 3 days or more ahead of time. I'd pour it not through the sediment in the neck, but on the other side. Sounds like if you're worried about dribbling sediment, you should definitely decant....

0
3039
Reply by gregt, Mar 1, 2011.

It doesn't actually dissolve - it gets held in suspension.  That means if you stand the bottle up, it will settle.  As far as the stuff on the side, it's a little sticky.  If "chunks" fall off, they'll be heavy enough to fall to the bottom of the bottle. If small amounts fall off, they end up at the bottom of your glass -  happens all the time because until you get most of the wine out of the bottle, it's hard to avoid washing past the stuff in the neck no matter how you pour, but you can do it - I pour from the non-encrusted side.  Maybe some goes into the glass.  That's OK  - it won't ruin the wine. 

But if there's a lot of sediment, I'm with D.  Although I guess that usually goes for Port.  I hardly ever decant unless it's a Port or a pretty young wine. Older wines w sediment I just pour carefully. 

27
1257
Reply by Stephen Harvey, Mar 1, 2011.

Foxall

I decant it and use a strainer, plenty available in bottleshops etc

20
2893
Reply by Richard Foxall, Mar 1, 2011.

Thanks, all.  I decant many wines, but this was a bit of a conundrum for me, and it seemed as if the problem was the same:  the sediment (some of it, anyway) would just wind up in the decanted wine, even with careful pouring.  GregT shows his scientific side--he's right it's in suspension, not dissolved.  D: pretty rare for it to wind up in the neck, but if you want to keep the wine in contact with the cork, it happens a bit.  SH: eAnswers and the like mentioned the straining, and I guess that, since the wine had been in contact with the sediment for so long, any positive effect would have already accrued, so it's not like filtering or fining at the winery.  I'm going to turn the bottle with the sediment side UP from now on. 

20
6689
Reply by dmcker, Mar 1, 2011.

It's the angle of the dangle, F....

And as I've mentioned in a number of other threads over the past year or two, I'm with GregT (and not GregDP) in very rarely wanting to decant....

20
2893
Reply by Richard Foxall, Mar 1, 2011.

Seems you want to decant if there's a lot of sediment, which goes with old wine often, but not if the wine is old and will lose aromas and flavors in decanting.  Quite the contradiction. 

I decant when we drink younger wines that need a little air to open up, but mostly I decant so we can taste blind most effectively.  I have noticed major improvements with decanting some inexpensive wines into a 1/2 liter carafe--just about 250-375 ml of the bottle.  It's made some things that tasted mediocre on opening improve to "quite good." 

I don't think there's any magical formula for decanting or not, but I think a lot of people do it out of snobbishness.  A friend had a party some time ago where we drank through many, many bottles of Cali cabs, all  pop'n'pour until he brought out a Bord with similar composition.  It was really tight, but he thought it would open up with decanting and hold its own.  Decanting improved it a bit, but still not very generous, and even the anti-Parkerite at the table preferred the pop'n'pour Californians that night. 

20
6689
Reply by dmcker, Mar 1, 2011.

Agreed about the snobbishness issue, as well as a newbie factor. Hey, maybe even wanting to show off a recent birthday or Christmas present.

I generally prefer preventive/preparative measures to decanting. E.g. the angle I mentioned so the sediment never gets to the neck, a longer standing upright period, careful opening and pouring (as well as opening the bottle well ahead of time), and even using the old candle (or penlight) method to see whether the sediment is coming towards the neck when pouring near the end of the bottle. Plus I don't tend to guzzle, so wine stays in the glass a little while, and can open up even further there than just in a pre-opened bottle.

Not at all as dynamic as a decant, but as I've mentioned in other threads I prefer a gentle unfurling to a smash-and-grab, bottleshock attempt to get the wine to open further. I have been known to decant young wines, but if you ever see me doing it, you know I'm not taking that wine seriously....

20
2893
Reply by Richard Foxall, Mar 1, 2011.

D: Now there's a philosophy for decant I can embrace. 

152
1913
Reply by napagirl68, Mar 2, 2011.

I agree with the standing up phase.  I have done this myself.  and you cannot always control sediment in the neck... if you have purchased the bottle AFTER some aging, it may have been stored at a negative angle.  Yes, pour away from the sediment in the neck, and let it stand DAYS if possible.  GregT is correct, it is a suspension, actually a colloidal suspension- NOT dissolved.  It will settle out, just takes time.

Perhaps some would disagree, but I prefer to stand the bottle for days, then pour carefully from it.  In my experience, sometimes the act of "decanting" the bottle (vs carefully pouring by glass) can stir up some of the sediment.

Personally, I do not mind some sediment in my wine, as long as the wine is great!  One of my friends freaked out once, seeing sediment in the bottom of her glass (duh.. she had never had an aged wine!!!)  With deadpan expression, I told her it was totally hip to read the sediment like tea leaves!! LOL!!

27
1257
Reply by Stephen Harvey, Mar 2, 2011.

D - You effectively decant it is just your glass is your decanter given your desire to enjoy the evolution in the glass.

I tend to decant young wines mainly to allow them to open up a bit and I always decant if I get a crumbling cork.  If I don't decant which is about 50% of the time I tend to take about 50ml of the top just to allow the wine to get rid of any residual "crap" that often comes with the first glass.  It also gives me an idea of the wines evolution by looking at it after about 30 mins

The decant debate is interesting, keen to GDD's view as a wine professional on this one 

20
2893
Reply by Richard Foxall, Mar 2, 2011.

Don't know about GDD, but GdP is a big fan of the decant.  There are threads on the topic, but maybe it is time to start a new one.

20
6689
Reply by dmcker, Mar 2, 2011.

GregDP swears by the double decant.

Stephen, I probably decant well less than 5% of the time across all the wine I drink.


Back to Categories

Popular Topics

  • posts

Top Contributors This Month

847804 Snooth User: EMark
847804EMark
47 posts
324443 Snooth User: outthere
324443outthere
44 posts
125836 Snooth User: dmcker
125836dmcker
44 posts

Categories

View All




Snooth Media Network