Terroir is the beginning of grapes’ journey to the glass. To simply define “terroir” it would be to say it is ‘a sense of place’.
That sense of place refers to location, soil, exposure, climate (to name a few). Each one of these components, individually and together, affect the quality of the grapes.
To keep the details of terroir simple just for this post, not every grape variety will grow in every type of climate. Some varieties need cool climates and some warm climates. Some prefer hot days and cool nights and some grow best in coastal climates . . ..
Now you ask how does terroir affect the color of the wine? The grape’s terroir will affect the sweetness and acidity of the grape. The amount of sugar and acidity in the grapes will play a part in the wine’s color.
Color in wine is also affected by the wine’s aging in wood barrels or bottle aging.
A wine aged in barrels can be more intense in color. When a wine stays in the bottle a long time it can change colors.
The bottle of wine may just be hanging around and forgotten, or it may be a great vintage that has been aging. The longer the wine stays in the bottle the wine will either lighten or darken.
Red wines will lighten with age and white wine will darken from the oxygen which eventually changes the color of the wine. Both the red and white wines are affected by the oxygen, though it is more noticeable in white wines.
The color of wine is a subject that gets tossed around in many a conversation by so-called wine enthusiasts.
Some wine experts and enthusiasts will say that the color of the wine in his/her glass will be a clue as to the grape variety and/or the wine’s condition — it’s either a fine aged wine, or the wine has oxidized and “gone bad”.
The majority of us who enjoy a glass of wine with our meal probably don’t really notice the color of the wine. Oh of course we know if it’s red or white, but the color hues in the glass don’t really affect our like or dislike for the wine.
Follow along next time as we delve a little further into the color of the wine in our glass.