5 S's of Wine

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Sight is the first step before you actually taste wine. The color of the wine comes from the contact with the grape’s skin after the grapes have been juiced. The longer the wine is in contact with the skins the darker and deeper the color of the wine. If you didn’t have contact with the skins you wine would have no color at all. The skins of the grape contain many characteristics that enhance the flavor of the wine similar to the zest of a lemon or lime. They also contact histamines which often cause headaches in people that have allergies and red wine would have more histamines because the skins have more contact with the grape.

White wines will be more yellow or straw like the more contact with the skin of the grape.

Red wines that have little contact with the skin of the grape are called Rose and will be more pink in color. They should show a tart or fresh tasting because it is light. These are not sweet wines. Sweet wines are called blush wines and receive their color using two different methods.

The saignee method first uses juice from red grapes and just a bit of the grape skin’s pigment is bled into the wine. They control how long the juice comes in contact with the grape. The second method is by adding a dash of red wine to white wine and viola you have a Rose. Wines identified as Rose are usually a dry wine. White Zinfandel is considered a blush wine and is pink in color. The difference is the crops are harvested early at a lower brix to retain acidity and vented with more residual sugar or adding concentrated sugars to produce a sweeter lower alcohol wine.

Start by tilting your glass and holding the wine in the light. The deeper and darker the color of the wine means that it has had much time in contact with the skins of the grape and that it was aged in oak barrels. This makes the wine bold and rich and the oak barrels help to mellow the wine.

The grape Pinot Noir has some of the thinnest skins of all grapes and some of the most difficult to grow. Pinot Noir wine should be red in color, but translucent enough that you can read text through the glass.