Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
I often make a last-minute decision on which bottle to pull from my collection to drink with dinner, and invariably the older bottles have a lot of fine sediment that imparts a somewhat bitter taste. It's tedious (and difficult) to handle the bottle in a way that minimizes the transfer of sediment to the glass. Is there any easy way to filter this sediment out of the wine?
—Howard F., New York
There are filters sold to wine lovers for this reason, but they are only equipped to trap extremely large bits of sediment, and I can't whole-heartedly recommend them as a solution for you. Some folks swear by using paper coffee filters in a pinch, but in my experience, these filters are only dense enough to stop coffee grounds, while smaller particles of wine sediment will slip through.
My best advice is to handle the wine as gently as possible, remembering which side of the bottle the sediment was collecting on, and pouring the wine very, very gently. If the wine isn't too old or fragile, decanting might help, otherwise a bit of sediment is your price for being spontaneous.
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