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The color of wine


At the beginning of a wine tasting,  the first thing to consider is the color of it, its appearance, and the visual features. In order to appreciate its color in the best way, it should be done in natural light since artificial light can be quite misleading. It is true that for many the candlelight can be convenient, on a white background, to recognize a tonality, but in the case of red and white wines, sunlight is what allows a better way to find subtleties in its tonality.

The changes in the color of wine are due to several variables, such as the vine from which it comes, the form of wine elaboration, the time which the skins remain in the must, the fact of having been placed in wooden casks or not, its age and the manner in the wine was preserved.

The color range is usually much more varied in red wines than in whites. In those, the color ranges from deep purple to brown tones, maroon or violet, to a large range of middle tones: crimson, vermilion, ruby, brick red, russet, etc. Whenever we talk of these tonalities, we must made clear that there is always room for discussing about. There is not a color palette that can be considered a pattern and which allows to accurately describe the color of a wine, with some exceptions such as ruby and russet.

Anthocyanins are the pigments that give its red color to wine, these are found in the skins of red grapes and are extracted by alcohol. Depending on the time that the skins are in contact with the must, will be obtained a more or less intense color. When the wine is young, red can get closer to orange and over time it becomes increasingly close to brown or russet.

In regard to white wines, the tonalities are less and really seem that white wines today are increasingly clear, pale, even with some degree of transparency that had once been considered aqueous. Those wines that could be considered golden, are no longer seen anywhere, luckily, since they are considered to be of poor quality because of deficiencies in their elaboration, since this tonality is due to an excess of oxygen. Another feature that no longer is usually seen in white wines is the turbidity that the existing filtering processes have been removed. We must clarify that there are particular white wines such as sherry or Manzanilla, which can have golden tonalities not due to a bad process of elaboration.


By: Marta Burgués

***Grabbed from: