C4 Deli Resident Bartender, Wine Purchaser and Texas native James Wall is the person you want on your best buddy list. Look out for his ‘red and white’ insight every Wednesday on our Wino Wednesday: Ask A Wino Q&A.
Q: What is sediment and why is it in my wine?
A: Sediment, although unknown to most is not only a term used for the stuff found in nature’s rivers, streams, and rock formations. Fascinating stuff, am I right?! Sediment in wine terminology is the natural by-product that occurs during the aging process of red wines. More specifically, because I know you want to hear more wine science talk, it is the left over “lees” or “dregs” found at the bottom of a bottle of wine. As wine ages, pigments naturally drop out of suspension. This is basically because they have become too heavy not to.
In less wine savvy terms, sediment is the unknown junk found in red wine in which you wonder to yourself if its supposed to be there but don’t ask the question out loud, too embarrassed that the answer is obvious and perhaps thinking that this is your punishment for not spending an extra few dollars for the bottle sitting next to it on the shelf. The answer to this question is surprisingly simple, that “stuff” you see contains residual yeast, grape seeds, and a variety of other particles that are in no way harmful. Sediment is perfectly natural and should occur with the maturing growth process of red wines.
Certain wine enthusiasts prefer to keep this “junk” in their fancy wine, believing it adds depth and flavor. This has the additional benefit that some of the “lees” of red wines may contain those things healthy people are always raving about called antioxidants. Even more surprisingly, and not exactly up my alley, when extracted, wine sediment has been found to act as a natural skin softener if added to bath water. Now you have multiple cool facts to share at your next dinner party as you sip on your Merlot. You’re welcome my friend, you’re welcome.