Wine appearance and its visual analysis are the first part of a wine tasting and they give initial information that will be afterwards confirmed from the nose perception and actual mouth tasting

The overall of colors produces a light spectrum with a white light. The color of the wine is a result of its ability to absorb or reflect the different radiations of the white light. We will have a visual sensation of a white wine when the wine, hit by a white light, reflects only yellow radiations. We will have a visual sensation of a red wine when the wine, hit by a white light, reflects only red radiations.

Which characteristics shall we consider?

  • Clarity
  • Colour
  • Consistency – Intensity
  • Perlage


Clarity defines eventual weaknesses or alterations. Do consider that aged wines can be a bit cloudy or not perfectly clear.

Clarity depends on particles or leftover sugars or lees in the wine.

Transparency is influenced by the amount of the coloring material and it represents its ability to be seen through by the light.

Clarity levels are:

    Heavy particles and lees presence, probably due to wine alterations or diseases;
  • HAZY
    light leftover sugars/yeast probably due to secondary fermentation or lees
  • DULL
    No leftover particles, you can see thorough the glass
    No leftover particles , with a predominant light: Typical of white wines with natural brightness
    Crystal clear. Wine that strongly reflects light. Typical of sparkling wine: CO2 bubbles reflect natural light.



Color is created by polyphenols, substances found in skins and grape seeds, but not in the pulp which is colorless. These phenolic compounds (flavenols) are called anthocyanins.

For red and rosé wine,  red berry grapes must be used. During winemaking, color begins extracting immediately upon crushing—color is soluble in must at approx.  200/500 mg/lt and its extraction reaches its greatest concentration within five to eight days of maceration. Whole-cluster fermentations lose even more color, as stems absorb a significant amount of color molecules—wines that see stem inclusion often have a lower color density. Lees, too, absorb and break down color.

On the contrary, the skin of most white varieties has light color (green or a blush color) and few anthocyanins. But typically the vintner also separates the skins or seeds from the juice immediately, allowing no contact with the phenolic. This accounts for the light or nearly transparent color of many white wines. The extraction reaches in must approx. 20 to 25 mg/lt of color.

Color test

Each shade of red and white tells a story about the wine you are about to drink. From looking at the colour alone, you can gauge how the wine is probably going to taste, its character and age, but mainly if the wine respects the main aspects  of the variety, age and terroir. The intensity of the color will tell you about the wine’s body and style.

Main color aspects are:

  • Intensity; (deep, dark, light, pale, weak), the quantity of coloring material mainly due to fixed factors (terroir, climate…ect) and variable factors (rain, maturation, growing choices…)
  • Shade:  aging process, coloring material (pigments), acidity, oxidation ;
  • Brightness; (light or dark ), the healthiness of the grape, good technics, wine making good technics, conservation

Use a white background when looking at the wine, so your observation isn’t biased . Ideally, your light source should be white as well, rather than yellow.

The color of a wine is evaluated by observing it from two different positions. The color’s tint and intensity are evaluated by observing the surface of the wine from the top as well as holding  the glass titled; in this specific position the nuances and shades of color will be also evaluated

White Wine Colors

  • Green (think of the color of a lime)
  • Lemon
  • Straw
  • Amber
  • Brown

Rosé Wines

  • Pink
  • Salmon
  • Orange
  • Onion-skin

RED Wines

  • Purple: characteristic color of very young wines with short or no aging in oak or tank at the winery. The purple hues can be observed only to the rim, as a purple wines look dark and generally appear nearly black to the core of the wine glass.
  • Ruby: the most common color of red wine, a ruby wine is a clearly-bright red wine, without any purple or orange/brown hues.
  • Mahogny: when the red color of a wine is slightly tainted by some orange hues, making it look a little bit brown
  • Tawny: an evolved red color, with clear brown hues to it.


The evaluation is achieved by swirling the glass in order to have the wine to wet the inner sides of the glass. After a variable quantity of time has passed, from one to more seconds, colorless “tears” will be noticed to flow down along the side of the glass to the surface of the wine. This phenomenon is also called as “legs”; the development of these tears is directly connected to the quantity of alcohol contained in the wine: the more the alcohol, the more, abundant and tight the tears will be.

You can define wines as follows:

FLUID, negative aspect, too light and fluid in pouring

BARELY CONSISTENT, light and smooth , more similar to a soft drink

MODERATELY CONSISTENT, it is poured with  moderate to balanced fluidity
CONSISTENT: it is poured with a consistent fluidity : you would see it from regular and dense tears
VISCOUS, too heavy and nearly comparable to syrup (ie : dessert wines )


Sparkling wine is a wine with significant levels of carbon dioxide in it that makes it fizzy.

Effervescence in wine is a good and positive aspect in young white wines for its action on acidity, but  it is a negative aspect if it is caused after alcoholic fermentation (ie: aged red wines)

Evaluation parameters are:

Bubbles Size:

Large if they remind you of mineral water
Moderately fine
Fine if they remind you of pinhead

-Bubbles number:

moderately numerous ,

Bubbles persistence

Moderately persistent


Azienda Agricola Purovino