Wine aficionados devote their time to studying the colors, the smells, and the years of wine to distinguish quality from ... not. With all of the books out there, all of the tips from experts, enjoying a glass becomes heinously complicated. Thankfully, color makes it all a little easier to understand.
While judging a wine for taste, 'smelling bouquets' and spitting wine out can seem a little bit backwards (because, after all, isn't wine for drinking?), it's really about appreciating different aromas and tastes without being totally smashed. color can tell us a great deal about a wine before we raise our glasses. Tilt them instead. Pouring a small amount of wine and tilting the glass at (approx.) 45º will spread the wine enough for us to observe a span of its color... and to determine the quality of a wine in the white, blush, or red families... where trees have rings, wines have color.
I saw Gary Vaynerchuk on Late Night with Conan O'Brien last week so I think it is really fun to see him bust up our color guide in his latest episode on Wine Library's "Does The Color of a Wine Have a Huge Impact on Quality or Age?"
In this episode he does a great job of showing some examples of how, while color can be fun to look at and enjoy as part of wine... it is NOT an indicator of quality or age in wine. Thanks for taking the time to explain what we got wrong in our theory and for showing some examples.
The Colors of White Wines
White wine isn't truly white. In fact, it's a bit yellow. It can be made from any type of grape as long as the skin of the grape is removed before the fermenting process
The Colors of Blush Wines
Rosé wines are often called 'blushes.' Sort of an in-between wine, soft pinks find their home here in the early stages of aging rosé wine. As it ages further, these wines can take on a bit of an orange or even brown color, though, again, brown represents oxidisation.
The Colors of Red Wines
Finally, red wines are deep red in color. Observing a purple-red suggests a young, but more often immature wine. Ruby is still young, but aged a bit from purple-red. Using the word 'garnet' is classic for wines in their prime. Brick red, however, is a little fickle. Paler shades are old, but still healthy, while seeing a bit of yellow or brown suggests a wine past its time. While seeing that bit of yellow or brown at the edge of the tilted wine, it does not necessarily mean the wine is undrinkable.
With wine, it seems as though what you see is what you get, leaving the aromas and added flavors to be joyfully discovered. Enjoy your pursuit of finding the perfect glass.
We are not wine experts. We are color lovers. The colors above are exaggerated to help illustrate the color changes in wines. If you are drinking a wine that is actually as bright as some of the white & blush colors above, you're probably drinking a wine cooler... Not quite "wine." No wine was harmed in the creation of this post, but a lot was consumed. If you're a wine expert and we got something wrong, let us know and we'll update it.
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