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Exploring Wine Colour for International Colour Day

GETTING GEEKY WITH RIEDEL - PART 2

Just as with eating, the sensory experience of drinking wine goes far beyond taste. Visuals are first and foremost when it comes to forming impressions: impressions which then immediately start creating an idea of what something might taste like and therefore, influencing it in reality.

Internationally renowned experimental psychologist Charles Spence has revealed through many studies that colour can affect taste perception, with red colouring or even lighting generally making food taste sweeter and green more sour or ‘crisp’. His famed ‘Colour Lab’ in 2014 had participants sipping a selection of varietals, from the black tasting glasses by Riedel, under different coloured lights and showed the same applies to wine. Theoretically, this could be due to our instinctive associations in nature that red indicates ripe and sweet, and green unripe and sour, but of course the truth behind flavour and the colour of wine goes somewhat deeper.

March 21st 2019 marks the marks the 10th annual International Colour Day – an event made official by the International Colour Association as a tribute to all that colour brings to our lives. To us, this seems like the perfect occasion to explore one of wine’s main characteristics and help you discover a little about the depth and breadth of wine colours and what this means in terms of taste.

To the untrained eye, wine simply comes in red, white or rose. To those in the know, the range of shades spans a whopping 20 tones, varying widely depending on age, concentration and winemaking techniques, each with their own unique attributes. As with all the senses, the experts at Riedel (our newest partnership and specialists in creating functional, grape varietal specific glassware), know that the colour of wine effects our experience of it just as much as anything else. It also has the ability to tell us a bit about what to expect on the palette, and even the climate from whence the wine has come from.

RED WINE

Light-bodied: Copper, Brick Red
Higher in acidity and lower in tannins, light-bodied red wine tends to be a much loftier quaff, perfect for pairing with zesty dishes and fine textures.

Medium-bodied: Garnet, Ruby
If you’re after a great all-rounder which can complement a number of dishes, the balanced tannins of a medium-bodied red is the way to go. This, matched with moderate acidity makes for a bottle which generally avoids aggressive clashes in flavour with food.

Full-bodied: Cherry, Purple, Blackish red
Weighty and lush, a full-bodied grape is the ideal accompaniment to meat and equally heavy meals. These would be considered the boldest red wines by many and they demand robust flavours to suit.

WHITE WINE

Light-bodied: Grayish yellow, Greenish yellow, Pale yellow, Lemon yellow
A light-bodied white is airy and fresh – a must for summer evenings and always a friend to particularly salty or mild cheeses.

Medium-bodied: Light gold, Golden yellow
Lower in acidity than a light-bodied white, opting for a medium will offer a much smoother finish, less sweetness and higher alcohol content. Pair with earthy flavours, like root vegetables or a good goats cheese.

Full-bodied: Gold, Brownish yellow, Amber
As with all full-bodied tipples, a full white can handle a meal with denser flavour without being overshadowed.

ROSE WINE

Light-bodied: Onion sky
Similar to crisp, dry whites such as Pinot Grigio or sometimes with a touch of sweetness – particularly if Portuguese. A wonderful hot weather drink to pair with salads.

Medium-bodied: Salmon
Spectacularly versatile, especially if given its time to shine in Riedel’s varietal specific stemware. Great with slightly stronger flavours (think Niçoise, duck or even BBQ!) with an elegant finish.

Full-bodied: Raspberry
The ultimate party wine! It’s big and bold and a sheer delight with cake. Unlike a full bodied red, the tannins are far less obvious, despite the heft alcohol percentage.


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