What Can Be Learned From a Wine's Color


You may have seen it.  Someone with a glass of wine looking very closely at it. Or even slightly tipping the glass of wine over a bit to take an even closer look.

Well, there are several things that can be learned by just looking at your wine. And, using a white background, as shown in the photo, will greatly help in this activity.

The first thing that you can learn by looking closely at your glass of wine has to do with the body, or boldness, of your wine. A lighter colored wine will have a lighter body, or lighter flavor, than one that's a deeper hue.

A red wine will vary in color from a pale, almost pinkish, red to a deep purple.  Pale reds are going to be lighter in flavor and intensity. Prime examples would include Gamay (Beaujolais) and Pinot Noir (Red Burgundy). A medium-bodied wine will be more opaque but will usually have a lighter hue around the edges. These wines include Merlot, Zinfandel and Sangiovese (Chianti). Then, you get to the full-bodied red wines that are deep purple in color, opaque, and full of flavor. These will have big flavor and, when young, big tannin (which leads to that astringent mouth-drying sensation). These wines include Malbec, Petite Sirah, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Color also varies with the age of a wine. Older red wines will generally get lighter in color and often take on some orange or brown hues around the edge of the glass. Older red wines can be amazing as their tannin softens. But an oxidized wine will have off-flavors (nutty) and generally be undesirable to drink.

The color of white wines can also tell you a lot about the wine. And, we'll get to that next time. Until then, Cheers!