Look at Your Wine Before You Drink it

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Last time we asked "Why do people look so closely at their glass of wine?" and learned that flaws, such as sediment and dis-colorization can be seen in a wine glass.

But, the color of a wine can also tell you about how it will taste and its age.

With white wines, pale yellow-green color generally indicates a light bodied wine that will have bright, crisp fruit flavors and higher acidity (e.g., Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc). A deep golden colored wine will tend to be full bodied, bolder in flavor and lower in acidity (e.g., Chardonnay).

With red wine, you'll find that those that tend toward pink to light red will be light bodied and bright in flavor (e.g., Beaujolais and Pinot Noir). They may even be a little tart. As the color of a red wine gets darker towards maroon and purple, it will become more full-bodied with bolder and richer flavors (e.g., Zinfandel, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon).

Color can also tell you something about a wine's age.  You know that fruit eventually turns brown with age. This is also true of wines. Older white wines become dull in color and can take on orange and brown tones. This is usually an indication of a wine that is well beyond its peak and will likely have nutty flavors due to oxidation.  With red wines, they too take on brownish tones, especially around the rim of the glass. But, with red wines, this doesn't necessarily indicate that they are beyond their peak. Most older red wines (10 years +) will look this way.

So, next time you are poured a glass of wine, stop and take a moment to look at it and see if you can figure out how it will taste even before your first sip. Cheers!

Ever Wonder Why People Look So Closely at Their Glass of Wine?

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You see it a lot. As soon as the wine is poured in the glass, the first thing someone will do is raise the glass and look at the wine. But why do this you may ask?

In a past blog we examined the "Five S's of Wine Tasting" that include See, Swirl, Sniff, Sip and Swallow.  So, let's focus on "See." You'll find that a lot can be learned from just looking at the wine in the glass.

One thing that can quickly be detected by looking at your wine are flaws.  One flaw is oxidation. It can be noted by dis-colorization of the wine and is easily spotted if you know what you're look for. Wines take on brown hues with age. Whites can become golden to almost orange. Reds will show these brown hues around the edges of the glass. Usually, a white wine that is showing brown hues is too old. But, with a red wine, it may simply be a visual demonstration that the wine has become a bit oxidized with age. This is not necessarily a flaw but it could be a warning sign before you continue through the Five S's.

Another thing you might see in your glass is sediment. If you see small particles in the wine or sticking to the side of the glass, it indicates that the wine is either unfiltered or has developed some sediment in the bottle during the aging process.  Sediment itself is not a flaw but it's typically an unpleasant sensation in your mouth when you get a bunch of it. This can easily be fixed at home by filtering the bottle before drinking or, if you've ordered the wine at a restaurant, you can request another bottle or to have the bottle filtered.

You can also learn a bit about the wine's body by looking at it. But, we'll save that for next time. Until then, cheers!