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 ABC Wine  Share this article     Summary of Wine Tasting column Wine Producers 
  Wine Tasting Issue 3, December 2002   
Wine's Appearance EvaluationWine's Appearance Evaluation Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 2, November 2002 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 4, January 2003

Wine's Appearance Evaluation

This month we will start making friends with wine and to understand its many aspects. This evaluation reveals the charm of its face and this is what we look at before meeting the soul of wine.

 As the wine has been poured in the glass, the time to begin its evaluation has finally come. The analysis of wine is a process made of different and specific phases and the first one is about its appearance. Wine's appearance evaluation is, perhaps, the evaluation phase that takes little time if compared to others, and it probably is the phase where one pays the least attention, this is probably because it is considered as an examination having little importance. Indeed the evaluation of wine's appearance can reveal interesting aspects of a wine, it does not just allow to determine the type of wine being examined and its relative correspondence, it allows the taster to determine a preliminary analysis about the grapes used to make it and about the wine making techniques used to produce that particular wine. Moreover, wine's appearance evaluation can also show some and possible defects and faults as well as determining their causes, last but not the least, it can tell about wine's age, even though in a quite approximate way, as well as about the overall state and development.


 As the evaluation of the appearance is the first analysis conducted on wine tasting, that is the phase that allows us to “make friends” with wine, it is essential to pay the proper attention to this in order to prepare the taster to have the right predisposition and concentration for the following phases. It should also be noticed that wine's appearance, that is the result of this evaluation, can negatively or positively influence the taster's predisposition towards the wine itself: a wine which is considered to have a bad appearance, or anyway not having those characteristics that would meet taster's expectations, negatively predispose the taster to all the others phases, in a sense, this is what happens when one sees something aesthetically pleasant and as a consequence of this psychological gratification, it will be positively influenced and predisposed. However, a professional taster must not be influenced by what he or she sees, at least not completely, he or she must consider the appearance evaluation as a necessary phase in order to express an objective and honest response. In order to make things clearer, we can give an example that could better explain what could happen during the evaluation of a red wine's appearance. Usually, an average wine consumer would expect the color of a red wine to be pretty dark and dense and its transparency to be low, indeed, it should be considered that not every grape is capable of giving full colored wines as well as giving wines having different levels of transparency: this does not mean, of course, that light colored and transparent wines are of lower or bad quality, this simply means that they belong to a determined and specific category. Lastly, it should be reminded that it is not a suit that makes a person elegant and refined, at least, not all the times.


How to evaluate wine's appearance

 Before starting to set the proper and right conditions for properly evaluating wine's appearance, let's understand what we are expecting to find out in this analysis. Just like the other analysis achieved during a wine's organoleptic evaluation, the goal of the evaluation of the appearance is to determine wine aspect's quality as well as the correspondence with the type the wine belongs to. Moreover, the appearance of a wine can tell a lot about other aspects as well, usually confirmed by other evaluations, such as consistency and body, or structure. Wine's appearance evaluation has the purpose of determining wine's “aesthetical” characteristics by means of the analysis of limpidity, transparency, fluidity and color. In case of sparkling or lightly sparkling wines, the evaluation of the foam will be done as well and, in this particular case, the evaluation of fluidity will be omitted.

 One of the main factors that allow a proper wine's appearance evaluation is how the environment is illuminated. For this purpose are to be avoided rooms and places scarcely illuminated or dim-lighted, such as a cellar. A scarce illumination would not allow, as it can be obviously thought, a proper, efficient and reliable evaluation of wine's appearance, and this is particularly true for color. The room or environment where the wine's appearance evaluation is being achieved, that is the place where the whole evaluation will take place, must have a proper illumination and this means there must be plenty of light and a good illumination. Indeed, the problem of illumination is more complex than how it can seem. Light has the property, besides of illuminating, of altering and influencing the colors of the surface where it is being reflected to, as well as of gas or liquid masses, such as wine, for example. Perhaps the best light one may instinctively think of and that could be considered as ideal would be the one of the sun. Indeed, even using this kind of light could be cause of some problems. Let's consider the sunlight in a perfect clear day and the light of a cloudy day: it is evident both lights, even though they are both natural, are different and make colors appear differently. Moreover, there are other evident differences between the morning light and the afternoon light, this is even more evident is we consider the twilight. Unfortunately geographical conditions influence the quality of natural light as well: it is said that the light of the northern hemisphere is more suffused than the one of the southern hemisphere.

 Artificial light could be a valid and good alternative, however, it has disadvantages and drawbacks anyway. A candlelight, often associated to the many situations where wine is involved, is scarcely useful for this purpose: it is not enough strong and scarcely diffused. Other alternatives concerning artificial lights could be fluorescent light and incandescence light. Fluorescent lights will make white wine's color appear more yellower than it really is, whereas they will make red wine's color appear less red than it really is. The same is also true for incandescence light, however this effect is less evident and less pronounced. Talking about color's alteration by means of light, natural light of a cloudy day will make white wines appear more yellow and red wines less intense. By observing a red wine through the blue light of a perfect clear and sunny day, the wine will improperly appear with some brownish hues in its color. The best solution, although not perfect, as every light has the property of altering colors anyway, is to make use of a “sunlight” or “artist's” incandescence light, that is that lamp whose bulb is blue and that “simulates” natural sunlight or, as a last resort, an incandescence light having a clear, transparent and colorless bulb.

 Another fundamental factor is played by the environment's color where the wine's evaluation is done. Experiments conducted on color's influence in taste, showed that certain colors favor or give the illusion of perceiving determined and specific flavors. For example, green can make a wine taste more acid, blue accentuates bitter flavors, red usually has the property of making a wine more pleasant and agreeable. The best solution would be to achieve the wine's evaluation in proper booths which isolates the taster from external factors; a condition possible only in laboratory tests and in some wine contests. A good trick that will allow a reliable and proper analysis of the wine's appearance is to have a white surface to be used to contrast the wine contained in the glass. A white sheet of paper can also be used for this purpose and it will be put on the table where the wine's evaluation is to be achieved. This white surface will allow light to be reflected without being altered and will allow a proper evaluation of the majority of wine's appearance factors.

 The evaluation of wine's appearance begins by evaluating the limpidity, or clarity, of wine, then its transparency, color and finally its fluidity or viscosity. In case a sparkling or lightly sparkling wine is being evaluated, this latter analysis will not be achieved and the evaluation of effervescence and foam will be achieved instead. In the course of the single phases of the analysis, particular attention will be paid to any possible presence of faults and defects; this would be a sure sign the wine has been altered by some negative conditions and this will surely have a direct influence on the other organoleptic qualities of wine.

 The wine's appearance analysis is divided into three different phases, in particular, the wine will be observed in three different positions, each one of them will allow to determine specific characteristics of the wine. The glass will be put on the table and, by contrasting it with a white surface, such as a sheet of paper, the content of the glass will be observed from the top by looking straight to the liquid's surface: it must appear brilliant, smooth and reflective, just like a mirror. In case the surface will appear opaque or faded, this could be a sign of the presence of defects and faults which developed during wine's bottle storage. In this phase limpidity, intensity and hue of color, any possible trace of carbon dioxide in the surface and in the bottom of the glass as well as the presence of any possible sediment will be examined as well. After that, the glass will be taken with the hand, always held by the base, and it will be tilted in order to allow the wine to reach the edge of the glass (see figure ) and the content of the glass will be observed by contrasting it to a white surface. During this phase the color of wine being in the bottom of the glass will be examined, that is the point where the wine mass has a bigger thickness. This evaluation will allow the determination of the main tint of wine as well as its intensity. Therefore the wine will be observed in proximity of the edge of the mass, this part is usually called as “rim”, in order to determine, because of the lesser thickness, shades and nuances of the color. During this phase limpidity and transparency will be evaluated as well. Finally, the glass will be held in vertical position and, still holding it by the base, it will be raised to eye level and the surface, and its proximity, will be examined in order to find any trace of carbon dioxide and, lastly, the glass will be swirled in order to evaluate fluidity or viscosity.



 Limpidity is the property a wine in good conditions must always have. A limpid wine is a wine that has no extraneous suspended particles and this property must not be confused with transparency. The evaluation of limpidity is done by observing the wine in the glass directly through a light source. This simple operation will show any suspended particle in the wine, and in this case, the wine cannot be considered as limpid. A wine which does not have any extraneous and visible suspended particle will be defined as limpid, whereas a wine that besides being limpid also seems to emit light as to make it appear as exceptionally limpid, will be defined as crystalline.

 Every trace or clue of suspended particles should make ponder the taster about wine's good health. Thanks to modern wine making technologies, it is highly improbable that a wine would not appear as limpid, however the presence of suspended particles that would make the wine appear turbid, and in this particular case the wine will be considered as “cloudy”, a factor that would signal flaws or defects in the wine possibly developed in the bottle during storage. One of the causes that may be origin of “cloudiness” in a wine include a secondary fermentation in bottle, flocculation or the alteration of some wine's components and that make the wine appear as turbid. However there are cases where the presence of suspended particles are not a sign of a defective wine. Let's consider a wine aged for a long time, a red or port wine, which stayed in the bottle for a number of years and developed a natural sediment and, at the time of being served, it would have not been properly decanted: in this case the presence of particles is not a sign of defects or faults in the wine. Some of the causes that make a wine turbid or cloudy include: excessive contact with the air for a wine not properly stabilized, excessive and sudden temperature changes between cold and warm, prolonged exposure to light, non sterile bottle, presence of traces of copper or iron, coloring substances or unstable tannins, bacteriological or microbiological infections, presence of yeast's residuals or proteins.



 Transparency, which is not to be confused with limpidity, is the property that allows light to pass through the wine. This characteristic is directly connected to the quantity of coloring substances dissolved in wine, therefore we could have a perfectly limpid wine having little transparency. The examination of transparency is achieved by observing the content of the glass by directly exposing it to a light source, the same as for limpidity. As the wine is in contrast with light, a pencil or a finger can be put between the glass and the light source. The easiness an object will be seen through the wine will determine the level of transparency in a wine. Another method that can be used to evaluate transparency is to tilt the glass on a sheet of written paper: a transparent wine will allow to read the content of the sheet. However, it should be noticed a turbid wine, that is not limpid, will also be not much transparent and this is the only factor that could connect transparency to limpidity. Suspended particles in a wine will obstruct the passage of light and will make the wine appear not transparent.

 Transparency is a characteristic always present in white wines in good conditions, whereas it can have variable characteristics in red wines. In this specific case, transparency can vary according to the kind of grapes used to make that specific wine, there are grapes more or less rich in coloring substances, as well as of the wine making techniques used, in particular the time the grape's skins, rich in coloring substances, have been macerated in the must. Red wines can be transparent as well as “impenetrable” to light. Transparency in red wines is also an indicator for body and structure. A red transparent wine will indicate a very low quantity of solid substances, particularly coloring substances, whereas an impenetrable to light, indicates a very high quantity of colorants and solid substances. This factor will also be useful in the preliminary determinion of the structure of a wine that will be subsequently confirmed by the gustatory analysis.



 This aspect of wine, that is also defined as “viscosity” or “consistency”, is the characteristic that, more than any other else, divides the opinions of tasters and producers, and it has been, and it probably still is, origin of confusion. Often it is heard that fluidity is directly connected to wine's structure, in particular to the quantity of glycerine contained in a wine, indeed, researches showed that this component is not responsible with what is considered as a factor of fluidity. The evaluation is achieved by swirling the glass in order to have the wine to wet the inner sides of the glass. After a variable quantity of time has passed, from one to more seconds, colorless “tears” will be noticed to flow down along the side of the glass to the surface of the wine. This phenomenon is also called as “legs”; the development of these tears is directly connected to the quantity of alcohol contained in the wine: the more the alcohol, the more, abundant and tight the tears will be.

 This phenomenon is caused by the so called “Marangoni effect”. Alcohol has a greater volatility than water and in the upper side of the glass and in the surface, a thin layer of liquid having a lesser quantity of alcohol is formed and therefore it has a greater surface tension. Because of the effect of capillarity, this liquid tends to flow up along the sides of the glass and by doing so, the surface tension increases and as a consequence, colorless tears will be formed and they will flow down along the sides: this will form the so called “legs”. This phenomenon has been cause of a lot of confusion on this subject, for many the formation of tears is just a sign of a “fatty wine” because of the quantity of glycerine contained in it. Even worse, many believe that “tears” in a wine are an indisputable sign of quality.


Effervescence and Foam

 The analysis of effervescence and foam is achieved for lightly sparkling and sparkling wines only. Effervescence in a wine is produced by the presence of carbon dioxide (CO2) and according to the quantity dissolved in the wine, it will produce different effects. However it is necessary to remind that carbon dioxide is naturally produced during fermentation and therefore is present in the majority of wines, even though the quantity is not evidently perceivable in wine's appearance or taste. The presence of abundant carbon dioxide in a still wine is a sign of some defects and faults, such as an unwanted secondary fermentation in the bottle. Sometimes can be noticed in the bottom of a glass, some tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide in still wines; this is not to be considered as a defect or a flaw, in particular for white wines, rose wines and young red wines, because this gas, once again, is naturally produced during alcoholic fermentation. The presence of bubble of carbon dioxide in the bottom of glasses is however a non appreciable factor in wines which have been aged in bottle for a long time.

 The presence of carbon dioxide, therefore of effervescence and foam, is a wanted characteristic for lightly sparkling wines and sparkling wines. The evaluation of foam begins as the wine has been poured in the glass. The quantity and quality of foam in a wine are dependent on many factors, in particular to the quantity of colloid substances dissolved in wine, the wine making technique used to make it, the temperature and the quantity of time the wine was in contact with yeasts. In particular, sparkling wines produced with rapid fermentation techniques, such as the “Charmat method” or “Martinotti method”, the foam will tend to disappear more rapidly than in wines produced with the “classic method”. Moreover, foam tends to disappear more rapidly in dirty glasses or glasses which have traces of soap. Foam in a sparkling wine should not be very thick or very creamy, as well as not being like the one of beer, if must be fine and dry, it will disappear in few seconds leaving a slight ring on the surface of wine in correspondence to the side of the glass. Moreover, a little quantity of foam will naturally form in the surface and in correspondence of the points where the carbon dioxide is freed.

 Effervescence is evaluated according to the development of bubbles of carbon dioxide flowing up to the surface. It should be noticed that using an ISO tasting glass can drastically alter the evaluation of this aspect because its wide surface will favor a rapid dispersion of carbon dioxide, provided the glass has been properly modified, that is a tiny emery point has been created in the bottom of the glass. The first aspect to be evaluated in the effervescence will be the quantity of bubbles that develop from the bottom of the glass as well as their dimension: lesser the dimension of bubbles, better the quality of wine will be as well as the production techniques. Bubbles of the best sparkling wines have a dimension as thin as a pinpoint, in coarse and lower quality sparkling wines, this dimension can be as big as one millimeter, more or less the dimension of bubbles in a sparkling water. Another factor which is a sign of quality is the persistence of effervescence, that is the time which passes before the “perlage”, that is the continuous chain of tiny bubbles flowing up to the surface, disappears. The longer this time, the higher the quality of the sparkling wine: this indicates carbon dioxide is released in little quantities and it also indicates the usage of a production process of high quality.



 A wine having a pleasant color positively and pleasantly predisposes the taster to its agreeability, last but not the least, pleases the taster while he or she looks at it. The color a wine, just like the aspect of things in general, has the capacity of influencing the judgment of a wine and, most of the times, negatively or positively predisposes to its evaluation. A wine having a least attractive aspect will predispose the taster to notice the negative aspects of a wine, sometimes in a prejudicial way, a wine having a pleasing aspect will predisposes the taster to exalt its positive characteristics and he or she will spend less time in noticing defects and faults. This premise, which could make one thinks about a possible “danger” dependent on color's evaluation, should warn the taster so that he or she will remember not to allow the color influence too much his or her judgment about positive or negative factors. Some researches showed a direct connection between color perception and flavors. It was noticed that a green color can make a wine taste more acid than it really is, blue accentuates bitter flavors, whereas red generally has the property of making a wine more agreeable. By assuming a wine is being evaluated in a proper room, an environment which does not have factors and colors that could disturb the process of analysis, we should pay our attention to the fact that we can be conditioned by the red color, such as, for example, the one of red wines. If it is true that red color generally make a wine more agreeable, every time a red wine having a pleasing color is being tasted, it may happen that the judgment would be less reliable and it may also happen that judgment could be expressed in a exaggerated positive way; the wine could have been judged better than it is in reality. What we said so far has the sole purpose of warning the taster about the easy conditioning a color can play on the result: a good taster is the one that after having evaluated a specific aspect of a wine, goes on to the next phase without being influenced or conditioned in order not to compromise the objectivity and reliability of the analysis. One solution to this problem would be to taste a wine by hiding the content of the glass in order not to see the color of the wine. Unfortunately this is not a good solution and it is logically wrong because color has a fundamental importance during the evaluation of wine's appearance.

 The evaluation of wine's color represents a phase of primary importance because it can give important indications about the type of the wine as well as its characteristics. The first and more evident information that can be obtained by observing the color is the type of wine; a fundamental characteristic that will allow to determine the correspondence and the quality of the next analysis according to the type, such as gustatory balance, a concept which varies according to the type of wine being evaluated. As we will see in the next paragraphs, color also allows to determine, most of the times with a good level of approximation, the age of a wine, as well as the type of grape used to make it. Every grape has a quantity of colorant substances different from the others and, therefore, a wine produced with, for example, Pinot Noir will show a lighter color and a higher transparency than a wine produced with Sangiovese. During the aging process, color in a wine evolves in a way more or less known and this characteristic will allow, as we will see later, to determine the age of a wine. Lastly, color will also allow to notice any possible presence of defects or diseases, a condition that could also determine the interruption of the organoleptic analysis of a wine.

The color of a red wine in a tilted glass
The color of a red wine in a tilted glass

 Before illustrating the methods used to evaluate the color of a wine, let's understand the reason why wines have different colors and, especially, the reason why a certain wine has a particular color. Wine is produced by alcoholic fermentation of must which is produced by pressing grape's berries. The color of grape juice, no matter the variety or species, has always the same color, more or less a gray-greenish color. The part of the grape which is rich in colorant substances is the skin that, by means of maceration, passes this substances to the must with the effect of coloring it. The coloration of must depends on many factors, first of all the quantity of the colorants contained in the skins, the quantity of time the skins are being macerated in the must as well as the temperature of the must during the maceration. Moreover the color of wine can also be determined by the area of production and by the kind of soil in which the grape was cultivated, the cultural techniques, by the effects of some wine making techniques done to the fermented must in order to stabilize it or refine it as well as because of filtering. The next paragraphs, expressly dedicated to the specific types of wine, will explain in detail the origin of color for each one of them and how color evolves with time.

 The color of a wine is evaluated by observing it from two different positions. The color's tint and intensity are evaluated by observing the surface of the wine from the top as well as holding the glass titled; in this specific position the nuances and shades of color will be evaluated as well. (figure) The definition of the color's characteristics is expressed by means of terms which can tell, in the best explicit way possible, all of its qualities. As an example, let's suppose we are about to evaluate the color of a red wine and we defined that color as “deep ruby red with nuances of garnet red”. The color ”ruby red” represents the tint, “deep” is referred to intensity, whereas “garnet red” is the color's nuance. As another example, this time using a white wine, we could define this wine's color as “dark golden yellow with shades of straw yellow”. In this case “golden yellow” is the tint of the color, “dark” is the intensity and “straw yellow” represents the color's shade. Terms used to indicate tints of colors as well as its shades or nuances are being illustrated in the next paragraphs according to every wine's type, whereas the most frequently used terms to define color's intensity, no matter the type are: opaque, full, light, dark, deep, dense, concentrated, impenetrable, vivid, bright, brilliant, intense, soft.


White Wines

 Color in white wines is, in many aspects, still full of mysteries. First of all the contradiction of its definition: we call “white wine” what in reality is, as anyone can easily see, a yellow liquid. Another mystery about white wines is, in regard to some of its aspects, the origin of its color. The most common theory is that white wine's color originates from certain phenolic components, known as “flavones”, which have a yellow color, as well as from chlorophyll, which is evidently green. These components are contained in the skins of grape as well as in pips, anyway, the mystery still remains as many white wines are produced without even macerating grape's skins in the must, a factor that would make anyone think about the production of colorless wines, this would be, of course, impossible and it is evidently untrue as white wines have a color anyway. However, we have more information about how the color in white wines evolves with time. Its color tends to get darker with time, both for the effect of oxidation and because of the polymerization of its components. Young white wines usually show, in variable quantities, yellow colors with nuances of green, more or less evident. As the time passes by, the green component tends to disappear and the yellow color will get darker, a color which resembles the one of straw, and therefore it gets even darker by assuming a golden yellow color and finally amber colors.

 Full ripe grapes usually produce white wines with tints of straw yellow, whereas the ones produced with less ripe grapes will give wines where the green color will be more evident. Another component that influences the color in white wines is the refinement in cask. When a white wine is fermented or refined in a cask, its colors will usually be more dense and intense, a color between straw yellow and golden yellow. White wines having light colors, almost colorless, with rare exceptions, are usually produced with very vigorous and stressful techniques and they usually are the result of an drastic filtration process. Also consider that white wines produced in warm areas usually have darker colors and intensity more deep than the ones produced in cool areas: this is an indicator that could tell, even though in an approximate way, the area of origin of a wine as well as the climatic conditions of the year.


Rose Wines

 Color in rose wines mainly depends on the must being in contact with the skins during the maceration process and, even though this is done in shorter times, this is a characteristic we also find in red wines. Causes which determine the color in rose wines are the same of red wines, even though the process does not last as much as in red wines, colorant substances contained in the grape's skins are responsible for the color in these wines. We will see later, in the paragraph dedicated to red wines, how this process takes place.

 Rose wines are usually drunk when they are young, therefore the color does not usually have a direct connection with age, excepting in particular cases. Color in rose wines is mainly an indicator of the type of grape used for its production as well as the quantity of time the skins have been in contact with the must. However, when a rose wine shows brownish colors, more or less evident, this is usually a sign of oxidation, an improper storage, or it can also be a rose wine which has passed its best condition of agreeability, that is, the wine has got too old. Determining a color scale for rose wines is pretty hard as the variety of colors that can be observed is amazingly wide and rich, despite the fact these wines are unjustly considered as being not really interesting and considered as lesser wines. Colors found in rose wines usually range from soft or light pink, orange-pink, pink, salmon pink, onion's skin, light or soft red. The presence of brownish nuances are always to be considered as negative factors.


Red Wines

 Color in red wines is determined by particular chemical pigmented components, known as phenolic compounds, which are contained in the skins of the grape's berries, where the main groups are formed by anthocyanins and tannins. These components are being extracted from the skins during the maceration in the must, both for the effect of water and of alcohol, as well as for the effect of temperature. The quantity of these components, which directly determine the color characteristics of a wine, varies according to the grape's species, its ripeness and the quantity of time for maceration. The color of anthocyanins is purple whereas tannins usually have orange, amber and yellow colors. A young wine contains both anthocyanins and tannins and it is because of the presence of anthocyanins that its color appears to be purple-violet red. With time the molecules of tannins tend to polymerize, that is they aggregate and form bigger and insoluble components, therefore precipitate and become part of the sediment sometimes found in red wines aged for a long time. The two kinds of phenolic compounds have different time of polymerization and this process is more rapid in anthocyanins that, by polymerizing, tend to diminish their coloring effect by leaving the other tannins to reveal better. This is the reason why a young wine, having a purple-red color, gets a ruby red color in a relatively short time. The polymerization process continues for tannins as well, even though with a slower pace, and make the color turn from ruby red to garnet red and finally to orange-red or brick red. The velocity at which the polymerization of the phenolic compounds takes place varies according to the species of the grape, the area of origin and the year of vintage.

 Speaking in general terms, we usually are more exacting in the color of red wines than in the color of white wines. We usually expect the color of a red wine to be dense, dark and impenetrable because we usually expect a wine having such color will also have rich and exceptional flavors and tastes. However it should be noticed that a red wine having a light color and being very transparent can indicate a very high yield, a grape not fully ripe, a very rainy year or the usage of an improper, drastic or energetic wine making process as well as an improper maceration. We also have to remind that every grape type has different quantities of colorant substances and, therefore, not all wines can have dense and dark colors. Moreover, the intensity and the richness of color in a red wine is not always a sign of quality or of richness in flavors. There are conditions where an excessive extraction of colorant substances from certain grape varieties, in order to produce a wine having a deeper color, can indeed produce a wine having coarse and ordinary organoleptic characteristic as well as having an excessive astringency.


Passito, Sweet and Fortified Wines

 Determining and defining the possible colors in passito and fortified wines is pretty complicated; the richness in colors, the many nuances and tints always give every wine its own color personality, practically every wine is different from another. However the colors most frequently found in these wines, produced with white grapes, vary from golden yellow to deep amber yellow, sometimes assuming mahogany colors, whereas the ones produced with red grapes, can usually have colors from ruby red to brick red, sometimes mahogany. The evolution of the color in these wines is based on the same causes known for white wines and red wines, according to the type of grape used for the production. However it should be noticed that in some fortified wines, as well as in some passito wines, a variable quantity of concentrated must or cooked must can be added and this inevitably turn the color into darker and deeper tints. Oxidation processes, a wanted and essential condition for many wines, such as Jerez (Sherry) and Marsala, also influence and alter the color of a wine.


 ABC Wine  Share this article     Summary of Wine Tasting column Wine Producers 
  Wine Tasting Issue 3, December 2002   
Wine's Appearance EvaluationWine's Appearance Evaluation Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 2, November 2002 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 4, January 2003

Wines of the Month


Score legend

Fair    Pretty Good    Good
Very Good    Excellent
Wine that excels in its category Wine that excels in its category
Prices are to be considered as indicative. Prices may vary according to the country
or the shop where wines are bought

Comte de M 1998, Chateau Kefraya (Lebanon)
Comte de M 1998
Chateau Kefraya (Lebanon)
Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon (65%), Syrah (35%)
Price: € 25,51 ($25,00) Score:
The wine has an enchanting and intense ruby red color with nuances of garnet red, moderate transparency. In the nose denotes, from the very beginning, a refined and elegant personality, clean and with well defined aromas and well perceivable. The bouquet has intense and agreeable aromas of fruit such as black cherry, plum jam and black-currant jam in a perfect balance with aromas of toasted wood and vanilla, followed by good aromas of leather, cocoa, menthol, underbrush, violet and coconut. The wine also expresses a very good personality in the mouth, it is intense with flavors of fruit; alcohol is perfectly balanced by tannins as well as by its full body. The finish is persistent and elegant with nice flavors of black cherry and plum jam. A great wine, very well done that could also be rich of nice surprises with some years of refining in bottle. The wine is aged for 12 months in new barriques.
Food Match: Game, Roasted meats, Braised meats, Stewed meats, Broiled meats, Hard cheese

Chateau Kefraya Rouge 1999, Chateau Kefraya (Lebanon)
Chateau Kefraya Rouge 1999
Chateau Kefraya (Lebanon)
Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon (39%), Mourvedre (18%),
Carignan (18%), Cinsaut (14%), Grenache (11%)
Price: € 11,94 ($11.70) Score:
The wine shows a beautifully brilliant ruby red color with nuances of garnet red, little transparency. At the nose denotes a distinct and agreeable personality, mostly oriented to fruit aromas. The main aromas to be perceived are those of black cherry, cherry macerated in alcohol, strawberry jam, raspberry and blackberry. As the wine is in the mouth, a very good balance is noticed even though of a tannic attack, well balanced by the alcohol which is present in good quantity. The finish is persistent with flavors of strawberry jam and raspberry. This wine is produced by maceration in skins for 4 weeks followed by 12 months of refinement in stainless steel containers.
Food Match: Hard cheese, Broiled meats, Roasted meats

Il Lemos 1998, Leone de Castris (Italy)
Il Lemos 1998
Leone de Castris (Italy)
Grapes: Primitivo (50%), Negroamaro (10%),
Montepulciano (20%), Merlot (20%)
Price: € 19,50 Score:
The wine shows a beautiful ruby red color with nuances of garnet red, moderate transparency. The nose is rich and intense, very clean and elegant. The main aromas that can be recognized in this wine are black cherry, plum jam, black-currant jam followed by aromas of wood, vanilla, leather, chocolate and toffee. The mouth has good elegance and personality with a good correspondence with the nose. Intense and full bodied, alcohol in good balance with tannins and with sapidity, this wine has a persistent finish with flavors of black cherry jam and plum jam. A good and well done wine. Il Lemos is aged in cask for about 18 months.
Food Match: Stewed meats, Roasted meats, Hard cheese

Salice Salentino Rosso Riserva 1999, Leone de Castris (Italy)
Salice Salentino Rosso Riserva 1999
Leone de Castris (Italy)
Grapes: Negroamaro (90%), Malvasia Nera di Lecce (10%)
Price: € 7,50 Score: Wine that excels in its category
The wine has a beautiful ruby red color with nuances of garnet red, moderate transparency. The nose denotes a good richness of aromas, intense, clean and elegant. The aromas that can be perceived in this wine are of ripe cherry, black cherry jam, plum jam, blackberry, black-currant, licorice and vanilla with hints of cocoa, coffee and light aromas of tar and leather. In the mouth has a good correspondence with the nose; the attack is intense and fruity with a good balance between alcohol and tannins. The finish is persistent with pleasing flavors of blackberry and black cherry jam. This reserve wine is produced with maceration at controlled temperature followed by refinement in cask.
Food Match: Roasted meats, Hard cheese, Braised meats

Pierale 2001, Leone de Castris (Italy)
Pierale 2001
Leone de Castris (Italy)
Grapes: Moscato Bianco (Muscat Blanc)
Price: € 9,50 Score:
The wine shows a beautiful deep straw yellow color, very transparent. The nose has a very rich and intense series of Muscat's typical aromas as well as aromas of apricot, banana, candies, fruit candy, litchi, marzipan and peach followed by nice hints of mint. The mouth has a distinct sweet flavor and a nice roundness, well balanced, it is intense with a good correspondence with the nose. The finish is persistent with evident and pleasing flavors of litchi, peach and grape as well as a little sweet flavor. The grapes used to make Pierale are allowed to dry in the vine and the must obtained is fermented at a low temperature.
Food Match: Pastry, Cream tarts, Fruit tarts

Doncarme' Rosso 1999, Buceci (Italy)
Doncarme' Rosso 1999
Buceci (Italy)
Grapes: Sangiovese (60%), Syrah (40%)
Price: € 4,40 ($4,60) Score:
Wine's appearance has a brilliant ruby red color, moderate transparency. At the nose denotes an aromatic profile distinctively oriented to aromas of fruit where the main perceived aromas are black cherry, cherry, raspberry and plum. In the mouth has good body and good balance. The finish is pretty persistent with flavors of black cherry. This is an organic wine.
Food Match: Sauteed meats, Moderately hard cheese

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  Wine Tasting Issue 3, December 2002   
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