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Oct. 17, 2019 | Thursday
Local News
It’s a Wine Thang! You'll find tiny crystals in higher-end wine
Tartrates in a wine glass are not a bad thing. (Sourced photo/latinawineblogger.com)

Each week, the staff of Ravine Winery share their expertise and offer a brief explanation about an aspect of wine. So, whether you’re an expert oenophile or a newbie just finding your way around wine country, we trust you’ll enjoy. Cheers!

 

Have you ever opened a bottle of wine and found tiny crystals on the cork or when you finished your wine noticed crystals at the bottom of your glass? It makes you wonder whether the bottle is good or has gone bad.

Well, no worries, the tiny crystals are tartrates and are also known as wine diamonds. The crystals are created by the tartaric acid in your wine. During fermentation malic acid is converted to a more mellow and soft lactic acid; but tartaric acid maintains its chemical consistency.

The tartaric acid helps keep wine from spoiling, is very temperature sensitive and doesn’t always dissolve during the process. The higher quality your wine is, the more likely you are to see tartrates. That is because on the lower end of the wine spectrum, the wine is often cold stabilized in order to filter the tartrates out.

This is done by chilling the wine down to near freezing levels and letting the solidified tartrates drop to the bottom of the tank where the wine is then filtered off. While this process will ensure a wine’s clarity, lowering a wine’s tartrate levels also affects a wine’s flavour and hurts its ability to be aged.

So, if you are finding tartrates in your wine it means that the wine was not over-processed and was well-preserved.

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