Last weekend I had the chance to try an excellent Vidal Blanc white wine. Everything about it was perfect – the nose, the color, the taste and the finish. In fact, if I would have judged this wine just on the color, I would have assumed someone poured me a glass of water, it was so clear. Unfortunately someone in our party was disappointed that the color was so clear and felt that it might have been flawed. If we hadn’t sampled the wine, we might have assumed that the winemaker filtered the wine too many times to strip the color from it, however, some white wines can be made so well that they are clear.
There are a few things, though, that you can learn about a white wine by looking at the color. First, when you are looking at the wine, make sure you have a white piece of paper or a white tablecloth as the background. Then tilt the glass at a 45 degree angle in front of the background. If a wine is golden or amber it may mean one of a number of things;
1) The wine is older. As white wine ages and depending on how well the wine is stored, any light on the bottle will start to impact the color.
2) The type of grape variety. Chardonnays tend to have a deeper or more amber color than a Vidal Blanc or Riesling.
3) The wine was aged in oak. By the nature of oak barrels, the white wine will pick up some of the color of the wood.
4) The wine has oxidized. This is the worse situation for a white wine to be in. If the bottle is not sealed correctly or has been open too long, the wine will start to turn an amber color and eventually a brown color. In this case, the wine usually tastes bad.
When we have attended wine tastings in the past it is always interesting to hear how people describe the color of white wine. I may say the wine is a pale yellow while you may feel it is gold. Similar to taste and smell, color is based on each person’s perception so there never is a “right” answer to what color a wine may be.
Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Road, Garrettsville. For more information on other wine topics please visit www.candlelightwinery.com.