Wine diamonds – a winelover’s best friend…

May 6th, 2010 | Posted by

Wine Diamonds forming on cork We get asked so many times about the crystals that are found in wine that Celia has compiled a little one-page information piece which we use in various formats to tell people about this wonderful discovery which, if you're lucky, you'll find in the bottom of your glass or on the bottom of the cork.  So for those that are interested, here is a short overview primarily sourced from articles by Stephan Schindler and Bruno Cantieni: Wine Diamonds: Have you ever come across crystals around the cork or at the bottom of the bottle when you open a bottle of wine? Were you worried that this meant the wine was flawed or ruined? Don't fear! This is commonly referred to as “wine diamonds” or more correctly, tartaric crystals. Finding wine diamonds is an indicator that the winemaker fermented the wine slowly and with great care , following traditional and natural wine making principles. These crystals are neither harmful nor are they a sign of poor quality - in fact, just the opposite! Scientifically, wine diamonds occor because grapes naturally contain tartaric acid. Grapes also contain potassium and calcium ions which form salts with the organic acids. These salts can precipitate out of the wine to form a material called potassium (calcium) bitartrate or what is referred to as "wine diamonds". Very often  (especially in New World wine producing countries), wines undergo a process called "cold stabilisation" where the wine gets chilled down to very low temperatures for a period of time before bottling so that the crystals can 'fall out' in order to make the wine 'look good'. But here's the catch: cold stabilization has an  influence on a wine’s balance and taste.  The rapid cooling changes the wine’s structure and as a top winemaker describes it: “Cold stabilization is like tossing out the baby with the bathwater. Perhaps you are left with an aesthetically flawless wine, but you are also left with a lesser wine.” Hans Gsellmann, head winemaker of the famous Gsellmann & Gsellmann winery in Austria, explains it this way: “It’s a natural process a wine will go through on its path to the peak of its development. When you see these flakes at the bottom of the bottle or on the cork, you can be almost certain that you are opening the wine at the right time. You should consider yourself lucky.” Wine aficionados in the Old World are known to seek out the bottles with wine stones as a sign of quality: it shows that the wine has not been robbed of its structure through unnatural chilling, and it is a sign of a well matured wine. Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Stephan_Schindler Stephan Schindler is a wine importer living in Los Angeles. You can read more of his wine writing at  http://www.winemonger.com. Additional information sourced from: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Bruno_Cantieni (Bruno Cantieni is an Independent Wine Consultant)