Ask an Expert: Is a Wine’s Color Important?
Q: What can looking at a wine’s color tell me?
Wines are different colors for a multitude of reasons, but our friends at ClubW tell us that no matter what, a wine’s color will always be able to tell you something.
At its most basic level, the color of a wine comes from its contact with the skins after the grapes have been pressed. The longer the skins and juice are together, the more color, texture, and flavor a wine pulls from them. Because a wine’s color can tell us a lot about its body and flavor, we recommend a small experiment. To start, put two wines side by side — we suggest a Pinot Gris and a Chardonnay. Though they are both definitively not red wines, their shades of white (and yellow!) are quite different. A Pinot Gris, for example, will be very light, bright, and translucent, telling us that this white wine has had very little contact with the skins and will typically taste crisp and refreshing. The Chardonnay, however, is a darker yellow. This is a good sign that the wine has been aged in oak, and that as a result, the wine will have a richer, creamier taste.
Fear not, red wine drinkers: the same is true for your beverage of choice, too. If the wine is a lighter red, like a Pinot Noir, it should taste light and bright with fresh berry flavors, and may even be a little tart. As the shade of red gets darker, the more bold, rich, and spicy it will taste and feel. Another good tip to remember is that the darker the red of the wine, the longer it has been aged in oak, which helps to impart stronger flavors and textures.
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