Although potentially misleading and biased, the information transmitted by the sense of sight is essential to our confidence in evaluating any wine. Although the color doesn’t reveal much about the quality and character of the wine, our brains need this evidence in order to process the information that is transmitted by the senses of smell and taste.
The wine should appear clear and brilliant indeed, regardless of the color and tonality. The misty and/or hazy wines should be avoided except in extreme old age situations or in the event of precipitation of sediment, what is commonly called deposit.
The wine lees are less common in white wines, even though it is possible. Because it is bitter and it conveys unpleasant sensations, besides being aesthetically distasteful, deposit should remain in the bottle rather than being carelessly poured into the glass. It is recommended that the wines are previously decanted, i.e., that they are thoroughly poured from the original bottle into the decanter or into a transparent jar, allowing thus the separation between the wine and the lees.
Though the color nuances of white wines are less significant than the chromatic variation of red wines, the truth is that they can vary between the absolute colourless wines more proper of the cooler climates and the dark yellow ones typical of warm climate wines, of sweet wines or white wines that are already rather old. Unlike the red wines, the white wines become darker over time as they get older.
The colour of red wines offers more information about the wine style and origin. Red wines gradually lose colour, often in the form of deposit, which means that they become paler with age, evolving from closed concentrated black to ruby red, brick red and finally brownish amber. The famous tears are sometimes taken as a symptom of quality when in fact they merely represent a more alcoholic wine and/or with higher sugar content, that may also depend on the type of detergent used to wash the glass.
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