The colors of red wine: the whole color palette
The dress of a red wine is full of nuances . Examining it by tilting our glass opens up beautiful discussions around its color and the notes of the wine. Do you know how wine gets its beautiful color? You've always wondered, so here we go, we'll shed some light on the subject.
Winemaking: what gives color to red wine
After the harvest, comes the vinification of the wine. When the grapes are pressed , it is the color of the grape skin , the tannins and the maceration time of the must in the juice that will define the color and aromas of the wine. White grapes give white wine (or even orange wine), and black or purple-red grapes mostly give red or rosé wines.
The pellicular film which is on the skin of the grape is filled with pigments which color the wine when the juice macerates. These pigments are called anthocyanins . They are naturally present in vine leaves and dissolve in water. They are the ones that give color to the juice when the skins macerate during vinification.
However, it's not just the color of the grape that plays on her dress. Indeed, a black or purple grape can give a white wine because its flesh is white. And if the skins, which are colored, do not remain in contact with the juice during vinification , the wine will be white. This is for example the case of certain “blancs de noirs” champagnes , which means that the champagne is made from black grapes that have not macerated in their skins.
For white wines, fermentation plays an important role in the color of the wine when it is tasted. During this process, the sugar is transformed into alcohol thanks to the yeasts present on the skin of the grapes. The more sugars there are (in the grapes that produce sweet to syrupy wines), the thicker and golden yellow the wine will be. Conversely, the drier the wine, the more its color will be pale yellow. Dry wines have a certain acidity on the palate, freshness and minerality, especially for Alsace wines.
For rosé, the must macerates in the grape juice for a few days in barrels , barrels or vats . After a few days, a saignée rosé , which is generally very colorful, can be drawn from the bottom of the vat, or a pressing rosé , a method which consists of pressing the grapes directly 2 or 3 hours after crushing. The pressing rosé is rosé is light and pale.
The range of red wine colors from one appellation to another
The color of a red wine can range from raspberry to tiled orange . You can taste a red wine with a violet , garnet , purple or ruby red color . This color can turn towards brick orange depending on the aging of the wine.
Raspberry or purplish red
Very young wine
1 to 2 years
3 to 5 years
8 to 15 years old
More than 15 years
The type of grape variety also affects the color and intensity of the color of the wine. For example, a Burgundy wine made from the Pinot Noir grape variety will always have a color in shades of purple and an aromatic finesse with hints of cherry . And a very fruity Côtes-du-Rhône in Syrah , has a very voluptuous, opaque color and a beautiful tannic structure like Cabernet , a grape variety mainly used for Bordeaux AOC crus .
The climate in which the vines evolve also plays a role in the color of the wine: the sun, the altitude, the temperature, the inclination of the different parcels of vineyards , etc. These are all the characteristics that will give the wine its typicality . The aging and aging of the wines also have an impact on the colour, which will evolve over time.
From the vine to the cellar , the winegrowers cherish their grapes to make delicious nectars. Once the wines have matured, for certain cuvées, they make blends of different grape varieties, which will have an influence on the color of the color of the wine. Once the blends are made and bottled, it's time for tasting in your favorite cellars!
To summarize, the color of red wine is related to three factors: its grape variety(ies ), the maceration time of the grape skins in the juice, and the age of the wine . For white wine, its color depends on its grape variety (ies ), fermentation and age . For rosé, the color depends on its vinification method: bleeding or pressing, and the grape varieties used.
With the team, we invite you to learn a little more about these regions and appellations by reading our articles on the wines of the following different appellations:
Vaucluse organic wines
Mediterranean organic winesOrganic Côtes du Rhône wines