What does the sediment tell you?

Anything to do with Port.
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uncle tom
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What does the sediment tell you?

Post by uncle tom » 21:25 Wed 16 Apr 2008

The purpose of this thread is not to debate any relationship between quantity of sediment and quality, but whether the texture of the sediment gives clues to the grape varieties used to make the wine.

There seem to be three types of sediment formation:

1) Fine dust
2) Gritty soup
3) Flakes

I am currently enjoying a Vargellas '67, whose sediment showed a mixture of dust and flakes - a combination I have seen on other old Vargellas.

Vesuvio, on the other hand always seems to display the gritty soup variant.

I'm wondering - if ports were made from single varietals, could the sediment be used to help identify the vine?

Tom
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AHB
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Post by AHB » 21:41 Wed 16 Apr 2008

An interesting thought. I had developed the theory that the nature of the sediment was principally related to the age of the port - the fine Vesuvio sediment simply being a feature of the fact that these are all relatively young.

I wonder if it could be related to the variety of grapes in the blend? The only way to really tell would be to try a single variety port comparison from a single vintage around 21 years ago.

Alex
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DRT
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Post by DRT » 22:53 Wed 16 Apr 2008

I have always assumed that the nature of the crust was a combination of the age of the wine and the conditions in which it had been stored. Like most of the things in my head I have little evidence to back this up :lol:

I do think that the well formed flakey stuff is a product of age and the fine sludge is just the early deposit of a young wine. I also think Tom needs a better control sample than Vesuvio if we are to begin comparing apples with apples :P

What we would should do as a starting point is record the nature of the sediment from a number of wines of significant age that were all produced in the same vintage. Can anyone think of a time in the next 35 days when we could do that :roll: :wink:
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uncle tom
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Post by uncle tom » 00:36 Thu 17 Apr 2008

The age related theory has crossed my mind, but I have seen both young and old wines with flakes, and very old wines with gritty sediment, so the notion that sediment evolves with age is not very credible..

Tom
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DRT
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Post by DRT » 00:45 Thu 17 Apr 2008

uncle tom wrote: the notion that sediment evolves with age is not very credible..
Friday could be a very long night if you are going to stick to that theory :wink:

Derek
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Post by Andy Velebil » 01:36 Thu 17 Apr 2008

I've found that as it gets older it goes from more of a silty sediment to a flakey sediment. Unless the bottle was shaken up real good a short time before hand, where its all a mess at that point.

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jdaw1
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Sediment types

Post by jdaw1 » 03:30 Thu 17 Apr 2008

Alternative hypothesis: bottles that lie in one place, unmoved for most of their lives, have larger sediment pieces than bottles that are turned, or change cellars, or the like.

I don’t know: it (also!) seems plausible, and is (also) hard to test.

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g-man
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Post by g-man » 03:41 Thu 17 Apr 2008

Julian brings up a good point. How many of you guys turn the bottles in your cellars? How often?

I turn mine once every 6 or so months when I remember.

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Re: What does the sediment tell you?

Post by jdaw1 » 04:37 Thu 17 Apr 2008

uncle tom wrote:I'm wondering - if ports were made from single varietals, could the sediment be used to help identify the vine?
If this were so, then a typical blend — Heinz 57 varieties — should have a fairly even mixture of sediment types. That we see old vintage ports, blends of field blends, with just one type of sediment, should weigh against Uncle T’s hypothesis.

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Post by AHB » 08:26 Thu 17 Apr 2008

g-man wrote:Julian brings up a good point. How many of you guys turn the bottles in your cellars? How often?
Never.

Let me make that clear - never, ever, ever, ever.

Whether doing so spoils the wine or not, I do not know. All I know is that everything that I ever read says you should leave wine bottles that are maturing totally and completely undisturbed as far as is practical.

Wine that has been maturing for decades or longer in cellars of the shippers or old English houses is never turned.

Out of curiosity, why do you turn yours?
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Post by DRT » 09:54 Thu 17 Apr 2008

AHB wrote:
g-man wrote:Julian brings up a good point. How many of you guys turn the bottles in your cellars? How often?
Never.

Let me make that clear - never, ever, ever, ever.
Alex,

Stop sitting on the fence :twisted:

g-man,

Don't do it. It a sin and you will go straight to Hell when you die. Honest, it's true. :?

Derek

PS: I agree with Jdaw's theory that long time doing nothing = big flakes (no proof to back this up, it just sounds sensible)
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Re: Sediment types

Post by jdaw1 » 12:58 Thu 17 Apr 2008

jdaw1 wrote:than bottles that are turned
Let me make clear: if an unpainted unlabelled bottled is moved from one hole to another, it probably, accidentally, will be rotated. This is all I meant.

g-man wrote:I turn mine once every 6 or so months when I remember.
AHB wrote:Let me make that clear - never, ever, ever, ever.
Derek T. wrote:Don't do it. It a sin and you will go straight to Hell when you die. Honest, it's true.
Alex and Derek are correct. I have never, and will never, turn port bottles for the sake of turning them. (Champagne I have never, and would research before doing so.)

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Post by g-man » 15:30 Thu 17 Apr 2008

hmm li ke sleeping dogs. I shall let my bottles lie.

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Post by Roy Hersh » 18:14 Thu 17 Apr 2008

Reminds me of an old story about tea leaves and sleeping dogs.

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Post by AHB » 22:07 Thu 17 Apr 2008

Pray tell. I've not heard that one.
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Post by SushiNorth » 22:12 Thu 17 Apr 2008

The vargellas 88 i opened recently (a young wine) also showed flakes and fine sediment.

as for turning: no-way! I try very hard to keep the bottles in the same position, even on the rare times when I move them. While the white paint marks might help, they are so infrequent these days that I just go for label-up to keep things standardized.

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Post by Sideways » 09:58 Fri 18 Apr 2008

When you ‘stand’ your VP prior to opening, do any of you lean the bottle at an angle, say 45deg?

I wonder if having the sediment gather in the ‘cradle’ of the bottle base (one half) rather than an equal share around the base offers less disturbance to the sediment when you come to decant.
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Post by AHB » 10:17 Fri 18 Apr 2008

I've never really thought about how to stand my bottle or whether it makes a difference to stand it at an angle - I can see that it might.

Hmm. More experiments to try.

Does anyone use a decanting cradle?
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Post by mosesbotbol » 14:48 Fri 18 Apr 2008

AHB wrote:
g-man wrote:Julian brings up a good point. How many of you guys turn the bottles in your cellars? How often?
Never.

Let me make that clear - never, ever, ever, ever.
I am with you on that one. This is not Champagne. Why have paint on the bottle if you are going to turn them? I do not like to move bottles at all if possible; port or wine. I'll actually make sure each bottle has the paint mark up or the label is perfect facing in the OWC before putting to rest.

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Post by KillerB » 15:01 Fri 18 Apr 2008

Just decanted a Terra Feita from 1988 and there was a combination of sludge and some sticks.

Turn Champagne, leave everything else the way that it is.
Port is basically a red drink

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Post by mosesbotbol » 15:48 Fri 18 Apr 2008

KillerB wrote:Turn Champagne, leave everything else the way that it is.
How often should Champagne be turned and how much of a turn. I just realised I have a couple of cases and have not done this yet :oops:

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Post by g-man » 15:57 Fri 18 Apr 2008

mosesbotbol wrote:
KillerB wrote:Turn Champagne, leave everything else the way that it is.
How often should Champagne be turned and how much of a turn. I just realised I have a couple of cases and have not done this yet :oops:
I believe the term is riddling and it's to clump the sediment together which is why i thought it should be used for port too.

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Post by KillerB » 16:52 Fri 18 Apr 2008

mosesbotbol wrote:
KillerB wrote:Turn Champagne, leave everything else the way that it is.
How often should Champagne be turned and how much of a turn. I just realised I have a couple of cases and have not done this yet :oops:
I was told a quarter turn every six months.
Port is basically a red drink

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