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Sediment at a restaurant

We were at a wine bar that featured many wines by the glass. We were served two glasses that had a great deal of sediment. I had never been served wine with sediment before. How much, if any, sediment is acceptable in a glass of wine? I have no idea.

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  1. The glasses should have been returned and new glasses poured.

    1. If a "great deal", just return the glass.

      I can accept a small amount of sediment, but that is just me.

      1. I would not have accepted those glasses. There should not be any sediment in your glass when you've purchased by the glass.

        1. It wasn't white wine was it?
          Without knowing you, people at times think tartrate crystals in whites are sediment. They're not and they aren't a big deal.

          In reds sediment is not a good thing. I would decant at home, but would accept a small amount in a restaurant. Not a "great deal". It's hard to quantify but in a typical by the glass winethere shouldn't be more than a trace.

          2 Replies
          1. re: john gonzales

            Good point about white wines with tartrate crystals.

            As for sediment in red wines, it is just fine in the wine, and should be decanted, to separate it from that wine being poured. In a glass of wine, served in a restaurant, it is NOT a good thing, and the glass should be quickly replaced.


            1. re: john gonzales

              Sediments in red wine are often tartrates stained black with the wine.

              Sediment is wine is no big deal, red or white. Its a sign of a good wine that hasn't had the life strained out of it in the winery.

              But sediment in a glass you've bought in a wine bar or restaurant is a big deal and it shouldn't be there, because the wine should have been served properly and decanted if necessary. Sounds like the bar person had either shaken the bottle or just upended it.

            2. Slight amounts of trace sediment that one sees as finishing a glass I'm OK with.

              But if it came to the point where the glass came to your table and you were like what is all that stuff?? That almost by definition is too much sediment.

              1. Here's my story re. sediment. Warning: it might sound gross to some ears, so discretion is advised.

                I was living in Paris at the time, and an old friend came to visit. To celebrate the occasion, I bought a Chateau Lafite Rotschild. It was our first Lafite. Bottle was uncorked, we tasted, we got awed away, if I may say so.
                [I'm following here strictly the dictionary meaning, that is:
                "an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful, or the like: in awe of God; in awe of great political figures. "

                ]End of the bottle, only the dreg remained at the bottom of the glasses. We used our fingers to schmear the dreg on our tongues.
                Reader: I warned you, so don't complain if you got to this point.

                2 Replies
                1. re: RicRios

                  With Vintage Port, the kitchen staff often serves up the sediment on toast points... your description is not as odd, as you might have thought.


                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    I was going to say when I saw this thread that I've had some excellent vintage (1955) port and the sediment was extremely tasty.

                2. It's odd to order two glasses and get sediment in both, usually it would all end up in one glass.

                  What kind of wine and what did the sediment look like?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Thanks for the replies. I needed a sanity check. Both glasses were (different) Italian reds. The sediment was not visible until we started drinking. And it wasn't a traces. It was about a 1/2 - 1 teaspoon's worth and it looked like wet chewing tobacco. I'm mainly a beer guy and I look the part. I had a feeling I was getting snowed but I wasn't sure enough to make an issue about his attitude. We did however ask to have the glasses removed from the bill and they complied.

                    1. re: Waquoit

                      Sounds like you got the dregs from the bottom of two bottles. Sloppy but the person who poured it wasn't necessarily aware of it.

                      1. re: Waquoit

                        Along with Robert's comments, something else that could be at play, and that would be the time, between the pour, and when you notice it.

                        When in full solution, sediment, if fine enough, one might never notice it, except perhaps for a bit of added "bitterness." However, with time, that same sediment can precipitate out, falling to the bottom of the glass.


                    2. I'd be concerned that I'd gotten the dregs of a bottle that's been open longer than it should have been, then poured by someone who didn't really understand what they were doing....**especially** because this was a wine bar, where a glob of sediment in a wine purchased by the glass is just this side of inexcusable.

                      If you'd been down at Applebees, well, the expectations aren't very high, but in a wine bar, the bar is a little higher.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sunshine842

                        If a bottle has been open too long, the wine will be oxidized. I send stuff back all the time because of that. At the best wine bars they'll know which bottles haven't been poured from since the day before and taste before serving them.

                        What happened to Waquoit is probably more likely with wines that they're going through quickly, so the sediment hasn't had time to settle to the bottom, it's not obvious when poured, and it settles out in the glass.

                      2. Many of the best wines I taste have plenty of sediment so it is a great thing in wine. I always decant and have no sediment issues but the average wine bar will not and has no clue in terms of wine service.