Decanter's consultant editor Steven Spurrier indulges one of his passions - the colour of wine.
Just how important is colour when assessing wine quality? Very important indeed… find out more in this fascinating film.
‘Colour is important because, as well as being attractive to look at, it tells you the age of the wine, the freshness of the wine and a lot more.’
The colour of wine comes entirely from the skins, it is the pigmentation in the skin that brings the colour.
Wine colour and where it comes from
White wines are basically made from white grapes, which are green when picked, do not have any colour at the beginning of their lives.
Red wines either come from red grapes with a thin skin, which will come with a little colour, or from red grapes with a thick skin that will add a lot of colour. Red wines are matured with the skin on during fermentation for about 10 to 15 days so will have a very slow extraction of colour.
As white wines age they gain colour, whereas red wines lose colour with age.
White wines gaining colour with age is called maderization; as the colour gets fuller and browner they begin to look like Madeira.
Red wines losing colour is called oxidization. As red wines are exposed to oxidization, they lose colour to the point that they are really quite pale.
Watch the video to watch Steven Spurrier analyse the wine colour of a selection of wines.