Shades of Red

April 11, 2017

WHAT CAN THE COLOUR OF YOUR WINE TELL YOU?

Three factors contribute to a wine’s depth of the colour and the intensity:

1. The type of grape and its skin characteristics.
2. The length of time the juice is in contact with the skin.
3. How long it has aged or been cellared.

Red Wine in Glasses iStock 509008122

Where does wine get its colour from? If you guessed the fruit, thanks for playing. If you said from the skin, you are today’s winner!

Each grape variety has different skin characteristics. Some are deeper in colour, such as Malbec and Shiraz. Thinner-skinned varieties like Pinot Noir tend to be lighter in colour.

Interestingly, colour also changes with aging or cellaring. Red wines start to brown or brick as they grow older. A fresh, young red wine will often have a purplish bright rim around the edge. This is easily spotted in young Beaujolais, Malbec and Shiraz. With bottle aging or cellaring the wine will slowly lose its colour, falling to the bottom of the bottle in the form of sediment. The hue will shift from purple to garnet to mahogany and eventually tawny brown. Oxidation plays a role in this colour shift.

The moral of the story? The brighter and more vibrant the colour of your wine, likely the flavour will be candied or vibrant in its own right. If your wine is showing hints of garnet or mild orange hues it just may have a more savoury flavour profile and offer a complex and interesting story with all its secondary flavours.

Shades of Red F16

Dark hue characteristics: Big, full bodied, deep on the palate.

Light hue characteristics: Shimmer of acidity on the edge or rim, light on the palate.

  

 

 

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