A wine tasting is done in 3 stages, the first of which corresponds to the visual examination. This is when the oenologist or wine lover analyzes the color of the wine. But do you really know what wine color is and why it is interesting for deciphering the qualities and faults of a wine? Let's find out in detail how to evaluate the color of a wine .
Wine color: definition
The color of a wine corresponds to all the criteria which determine its visual appearance . This is not limited to the color of the wine, and several elements can characterize it.
- Clarity : generally speaking, wines are clear, but it can happen that a wine is not filtered, and that its color is therefore cloudy (like natural wine), or that it has a defect;
- Color : if color differentiates white wines from rosé wines and red wines, each of these shades have deeper subtleties which make each wine unique, whatever its color. We then find a large color chart for each wine;
- Intensity : the intensity of the wine's color is reflected in its transparency. Wines can be more or less opaque or transparent;
- The meniscus : here we are talking about the ring that forms around the contours of the wine contained in a glass. This curved part of the wine can then be golden or completely transparent;
- Thickness : to determine the thickness of a wine, you must turn it in a glass and observe the drops that form, which are called wine tears.
How to interpret the color of a wine?
The color of a wine provides a lot of information about its characteristics. If we cannot guess the appellation, the vintage, or even the vintage, during a simple visual examination, we can nevertheless learn a lot.
Estimate the age of the wine using its color
Generally speaking, the more a wine ages, the more its color takes on intense colors. It is therefore possible, at a glance, to have an estimate of the age of the wine based on the color of its color . Of course, it is not a question of giving the precise vintage of the bottle of wine, but of estimating its stage of maturation and determining the best time for tasting.
The color of red wines
A red wine does not have a single color, and we often observe differences in intensity and thickness, but especially in color.
- A bright red, slightly purplish wine is a young wine;
- A cherry red wine is currently being developed. It can be consumed, but it is not fully ripe;
- A red wine with pretty orange nuances is ready to drink. If it is a wine for aging, this color indicates the beginning of the evolution;
- A brick red or brown wine is an old wine, which should be drunk without delay.
The color of white wines
White wines also have very varied colors , from very pale yellow to intense straw yellow. Here again, its color indicates its stage of maturation.
- A pale wine , almost transparent, is a very young wine;
- A yellow wine with pretty green reflections is a wine which has not yet started its evolution;
- A straw yellow wine is a mature wine;
- A golden yellow wine , with coppery reflections, can be a very mature dry wine, or a sweet wine when mature;
- A brown yellow wine is an oxidized wine.
The color of rosé wines
The color nuances of rosé wines represent a wide palette , which varies according to the maturity and evolution of the wine.
- A colorless or pale rosé wine is a pressed rosé wine;
- A rosé wine with a salmon color is a young and fruity wine, which can be drunk without delay;
- An orange-pink wine is an aging wine.
Evaluate the corpulence of the wine using its color
The corpulence of a wine is determined by its opacity and the thickness of its tears. It will be different depending on the color of the wine.
For a red wine, the opacity indicates a marked presence of tannins, which can indicate a wine with good aging potential . As for the tears of red wine, the thicker they are, the more we can assume that the wine will be marked by the presence of residual sugars , or with a high alcohol content.
As for white wine, it is rarer to have an opaque color. We are more likely to find an amber color when the wine has a nice sweetness, and thick tears generally reveal a high concentration of alcohol or sugar . Dry, mineral white wines are generally paler, and their tears are discreet.
Identify the grape variety and vinification technique of a wine using its color
Very often, the color of a wine can reveal valuable information about the origin of the grape variety used in making the wine. Certain grape varieties naturally produce wines with a paler color, as is the case with Pinot Noir. Others, conversely, are characterized by colorful, almost dark wines, like Syrah.
Furthermore, the depth of the color gives an indication of the duration of maceration , this stage during which the grape juice is in contact with the pigments of the grape skin. The darker the wine, the longer it can be assumed that the maceration has taken place, and that the sugar and alcohol levels will then be high.
A wine tasting always begins with the visual analysis of the color . This essential step allows you to gently begin to decipher a wine, before moving on to olfactory analysis and taste analysis. To discover the riches of a wine, try the tasting experience in our cellars in Provence.