What are wine diamonds?
If you have ever seen what looks like little “shards of glass” or ‘sugar’ on the bottom or sides of a wine bottle, then you have seen wine diamonds. Fear not, for your wine will still be good if not better.
“Tartrates are not harmful and only impact the wine visually.”
Wine Lover`s Companion
Commonly known as tartrate crystals or potassium bitartrates , they unpredictably precipitate out of the wine when at some point it got too cold along the journey to the glass. Most often it happens with white wines since we tend to leave them in the fridge for long periods of time. However, I have recently had calls from clients who experienced this with their bigger red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Amarone. Considering that we just experienced one of the longest and coldest winters in recent history, it doesn’t surprise me. Sometimes you will even see crystals on the bottom of a cork. If you do see this when handed a cork after the waiter opens your wine at a fine restaurant, do not return it, will be fine.
Decanting is the solution!
Although somewhat unsightly, they are harmless. I do suggest decantinting so as not to pour them into your glass. Simply stand your wine bottle upright for a day or two and they will fall to the bottom making it easy to leave them behind in the bottle. The key to decanting is to get a slow and steady pour and to stop once you see the crystals coming to the neck. I will usually leave less than an ounce of wine behind in the bottle, for no wasteage is a good thing. If I leave more than a couple of ounces, then my punishment is to open another bottle and try again. Oh well…practice makes perfect.