wine color

The color of the wine is one of the factors that influence its tasting. To recognize the quality of a wine, it is necessary to tilt the glass slightly and observe the color notes that are reflected. Like flavor and aroma, color is very important, so in order to recognize a good wine, it is necessary to know what factors influence its shades.

Defining the color of wine is not an easy task, since the human eye is capable of capturing many shades of red, white, green or amber. In addition, the colors tend to be somewhat subjective, since each oenology professional uses a different qualifier to define the same color, for example, some define Port wines as a brick color, while others do so as a corinth color.

First of all, it should be clarified that color does not really exist, but is a perception of the human brain, produced by the refraction of light on objects. It is for this reason that colors are perceived differently by each person, not to mention that some have problems recognizing colors, so defining the color of a red wine can be very complicated, as it will depend on factors such as the source of light or the medium on which it falls.

In this sense, the color depends on electromagnetic radiation that works in several waves of length, each one of them is a color and the sum of all of them is white light. The retinal cones of the human eye have three pigments sensitive to sunlight: red, green and blue, so when there is no light we only see black. The rest of the colors that we can perceive are nothing more than a mixture of these three pigments present in the retina.

How to find the color of a wine?

When carrying out a wine color tasting, especially with red wine, it must be taken into account that the common purple color of these wines is outside the visual spectrum of the human being and is placed within the so-called “imaginary colors”. 

This means that to appreciate the different types of red in a red wine, the ideal is to tilt the glass slightly and observe the wine against a completely white background, which is usually called “chroma”, but which can be any white object, such as a tablecloth, a sheet of paper or a wall. This system works because the white background creates a reference for the eye and, therefore, it can compare both colors, creating a more effective perception.

For this type of tasting, the glass should be tilted between 30 and 45º and observe the rim (the edge of the liquid), since it is the area with less thickness and where the nuances of color are more evident. To appreciate the tones, you will have to have good light and know how to differentiate certain aspects such as:

Intensity: Very high, medium high, high, medium low, medium and low.

Appearance: matte, cloudy, cloudy, clear, clean, bright or crystalline.

What factors influence the color of wine?

The color of the wine comes from the pigments that the polyphenols and the tannins of the grape contribute to the broth. These pigments vary depending on the maturity of the grape at the time of harvest, the vinification process, the evolution of the wine, its age and maturation, etc. 

In addition, both the quality and composition of the soil, as well as the climate, are influential factors, which is why the wines of a certain Denomination of Origin usually have similar colors.

Finally, in the case of red wines, their purple color depends on the anthocyanins and their phenolic compounds, while in white wines it comes from the flavones of the grape. On the other hand, Pedro Ximénez wine usually has darker colors due to the raisining of the grape.

How are the colors of the wines?

Colored wines have different nuances that must be known in order to know how to do a color tasting.

Tones in white wines

White wines have clear tones, ranging from the purest white to green and can be divided as:

Greenish: Dry and aromatic whites.

Pale or straw-colored: Light and young whites.

Dorados: From aging.

Amber: Sweet wines.

Pearly and reddish: They are very light red wines.

Tones in red wines

Contrary to white wines, in red wines, their tonality represents their quality, as well as the grape variety and the age of aging. In some cases, light red wine also indicates that it comes from cooler climates. In this case, the colors range from purple or bluish, to the lighter tile red of the older wines that have lost most of the anthocyanins.

Tile or Corinto, with orange reflections: Long aging wines such as Gran Reserva or Reserva, it is also typical of Port wines.

Bluish or violet: Young wines from Merlot grapes, since this is a characteristic tone of this variety.

Cherry or crimson: Typical of Crianza wines.

Tones in rosé wines

In rosé wine, its color can indicate its origin, since French rosé wines have salmon tones, while Spanish ones are darker. 

Raspberry: These are the highest quality rosé wines.

Strawberry: It is a common tone in young and fresh rosé wines.

Onion skin or orange: It is a bad color, since it is produced when the wine oxidizes.

Like the best nail polishes, wines have a wide variety of colors and now that you know how to distinguish the colors of wines, you will be able to choose the best wine to enjoy a good dinner at home, with your friends or family..

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