Learn the secrets of the color of each red wine

It is said that the color of red wine speaks to us but: what exactly do they mean? The color of the wine and the opacity of a wine gives you hints of the wine you are about to enjoy.

Grapes that are mostly used for winemaking have the same color in their pulp, whether they are red or white grapes; They have a slightly yellowish color. The pigments that characterize red grapes are found in their skin. Therefore, in the elaboration of red wines, the must is macerated with the grape skin during fermentation until it reaches the red color desired by the winemaker.

Where does the color of red wine come from

Those responsible for the definitive color of a wine are polyphenols, which are in turn divided into anthocyanins and tannins:


They are found in the pulp and especially in the skin of the grapes. They are the cause of the definitive color of red wine.


They are found in skin, nuggets and scrapes. They are responsible for that astringent hue of some wines.

When it comes to young wines, we always talk about very changing chemical compounds, which in turn combine with other tannins, form more stable polymers, to provide the definitive color of the wine. On the other hand, during maceration, the anthocyanins turn from blue tones to reddish or orange colors, so, as we see, aging leaves a mark on the color of the wine.

In the case of younger red wines, a purple, violet or mauve color is common, which as it progresses becomes more reddish or tiled, and the edges tend to mahogany tones. The reserves and large reserves usually have more muted and translucent tones than the younger ones.

In addition to the chemical process and aging, there are purely natural reasons that decisively influence the tone and final color of a wine, such as the type of grape (for example, Rossese or Pinot Noir less stain their wines), weather conditions (rain and hours of sun to which it has been exposed), the methods of elaboration or its conservation.

What is the meaning of the colors of red wine?

Red wine of low layer

It tends to have greater acidity and lower tannins. The colors range from a light magenta to a garnet.

For example: Pinot Noir, St. Laurent, Zweigelt o Gamay.

The middle layer red wine

It tends to have medium levels of acidity and tannins.

For example Merlot, Sangiovese or Zinfandel.

The red wine of high layer

It has higher levels of tannins and often lower acidity. These wines are high and opaque.

For example: Syrah, Mencía, Malbec, Mourvedre or Cabernet Sauvignon.

When a red wine has spent a lot of time in barrel or bottle, it usually takes a dull brown color. Some wines with a life of 20 years may not show too much change in color, for example Merlot or Nebbiolo stain orange sooner than wines of other varieties.

The color of the wine indicates age, grape variety, flavor density, acidity and more.

If you compare the different colors you find in red wines you will realize that you can learn to identify a wine just by looking at it.

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