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what's this sediment in my Champagne?

Posted: October 5th, 2010, 8:02 am
by Doug Schulman
I'm sorry if this has been discussed before. In my brief, impatient search I think I saw it mentioned but couldn't find any explanation. I just got some Champagne in the mail and one bottle has some brown looking solid matter in it:
Image
A little bit wouldn't bother me, but there is a lot of this stuff in here and some of it looks big enough that it will at least affect the mouthfeel, if not the flavor. Does anyone have any idea what this stuff is? My guesses are lees or cork, but I really don't know. If you've seen this in wine that you've opened, did it affect the flavor? Do people think that it will? I'm thinking about contacting the retailer either way, but I am also curious as to what this is. thanks.

Re: what's this sediment in my Champagne?

Posted: October 5th, 2010, 8:04 am
by Todd F r e n c h
I'd guess lees, but less aren't that dark, typically...wow, that's a lot

Re: what's this sediment in my Champagne?

Posted: October 5th, 2010, 8:19 am
by Veronica Castro
Had a similar experience. Was told it was lees (as Todd said) which were undisgorged, and was also told it would not cause ill effect on the taste. But still I did not buy the bottle because it looked like (pardon my French) Champagne boogers .

If you show them this picture, I think the merchant would take it back.

Re: what's this sediment in my Champagne?

Posted: October 5th, 2010, 8:32 am
by Veronica Castro

Re: what's this sediment in my Champagne?

Posted: October 5th, 2010, 8:34 am
by Doug Schulman
Veronica Castro wrote:Had a similar experience. Was told it was lees (as Todd said) which were undisgorged, and was also told it would not cause ill effect on the taste. But still I did not buy the bottle because it looked like (pardon my French) Champagne boogers .

If you show them this picture, I think the merchant would take it back.
Interesting. I have no experience with lees in wine, but based on what I have read about the days before disgorgement was perfected and my experiences with beer, I have trouble believing that this amount of lees would not affect the flavor (not being argumentative, I know it's just what you were told). The more I think about it the more I don't want this bottle. I will contact the retailer now. If this were a less expensive bottle I'd probably open it just to see what it's like, but I don't want to dump a $50+ bottle of wine.

Re: what's this sediment in my Champagne?

Posted: October 5th, 2010, 8:38 am
by Doug Schulman
thanks. Brad's advice reinforces my decision.

Re: what's this sediment in my Champagne?

Posted: October 5th, 2010, 8:54 am
by Steve Nordhoff
Stand the bottle up for a week and then pour slowly.

Re: what's this sediment in my Champagne?

Posted: October 5th, 2010, 8:59 am
by Doug Schulman
Steve Nordhoff wrote:Stand the bottle up for a week and then pour slowly.
I'd be concerned that the pressure release of opening this bottle (I see no lot number or disgorgement date but I assume it's quite young) would stir this stuff up.

Re: what's this sediment in my Champagne?

Posted: October 5th, 2010, 11:04 am
by Peter C.
I had that in a 1993 Vilmart Cuvee Creation. No idea what it was, but it's a clear bottle so you could see it floating around. I just decanted it to get rid of the "stuff" then poured it back into the bottle.

Tasted great AND was less filling.

Re: what's this sediment in my Champagne?

Posted: October 5th, 2010, 11:06 am
by Reese Ferry
Doug Schulman wrote:
Steve Nordhoff wrote:Stand the bottle up for a week and then pour slowly.
I'd be concerned that the pressure release of opening this bottle (I see no lot number or disgorgement date but I assume it's quite young) would stir this stuff up.
Exactly. I made a batch of mead once using champagne yeast and while the lees had settled to the bottom of the bottle during storage, the second I opened one up lees were transported everywhere by the bubbles.. BTW, it didn't seem to affect either the taste or the texture of my mead but I still never served it to guests.

Reese.

Re: what's this sediment in my Champagne?

Posted: October 5th, 2010, 11:10 am
by Doug Schulman
Reese Ferry wrote:
Doug Schulman wrote:
Steve Nordhoff wrote:Stand the bottle up for a week and then pour slowly.
I'd be concerned that the pressure release of opening this bottle (I see no lot number or disgorgement date but I assume it's quite young) would stir this stuff up.
Exactly. I made a batch of mead once using champagne yeast and while the lees had settled to the bottom of the bottle during storage, the second I opened one up lees were transported everywhere by the bubbles.. BTW, it didn't seem to affect either the taste or the texture of my mead but I still never served it to guests.

Reese.
Interesting that you didn't notice an effect on the quality of the mead. Either way, I did contact the retailer and they're sending me a shipping label so I can return the bottle. I just don't want to take a chance. Of course, I still welcome further discussion.

Re: what's this sediment in my Champagne?

Posted: October 5th, 2010, 5:20 pm
by Steve Nordhoff
edit?

Stand up for a week, open, let stand for an hour, pour slowly.

or maybe some cheesecloth.

Re: what's this sediment in my Champagne?

Posted: October 5th, 2010, 5:30 pm
by Jorge Henriquez
Fecal matter? newhere

The true sign of a "natural wine"! [wink.gif]