Some like it red, some like it white, some drink both types and who is anyone to judge? The palette of wine -just like the palette of life- goes beyond two choices, and today we’ll get inspired by the seven colours of the rainbow to discover mind opening wines that are perfect to toast with pride.
One of the most popular wine colours, red wine is made from dark coloured of black grape varieties. The favourite of many, it can range from the tannic and powerful Cabernet Sauvignon to the delicate and subtle Pinot Noir.
Most winemaking countries will have at least one red wine they’re known for (usually with the exception of the coldest places where the grapes wouldn’t be able to ripen the right way and whites make more sense).
Try: Classic Bordeaux blend, Argentinian Malbec, Rioja, Chianti.
No, it’s not wine made with oranges. It’s made with white wine grapes that are mashed and left for days (or months) soaking with their skins and seeds (basically the opposite process of rosé winemaking, in which red wine grapes are quickly separated from their skins ans seeds).
Oxidation turns the colour into a golden honey tone and helps the wine gain tropical aromas and a mix of fruit, nut and citrus peel as well as an intense flavour. Do not confuse with Orange wines (capital “O”) which comes from an Australian region with that name.
Try: Italian Ramato, South African Orange wine, Vino Naranja from Condado de Huelva (this one actually has a bit of orange peel macerated in its alcohol).
Bright and intense coloured, the most popular expression of this colour is the Vin Jaune, French for Yellow Wine, which comes from Jura, in the East of France, located between Burgundy and Switzerland. This wine is made from a local grape variety called Savagnin and achieves its characteristic tone thanks to a mix of late picking and a long time ageing in oak (between 5 to 50 years).
Through time, a layer of yeast develops and covers the wine inside the barrel, protecting it from further oxidation and allowing pleasant flavours and aromas to develop. Among these, walnuts, almonds and earthy notes appear to surprise you.
Try: Vin Jaune.
Although technically a white wine, Portugal’s Vinho Verde (Portuguese for green wine) deserves a mention as it is one of the country’s most popular wines and its the one you think about when the you hear this colour. Alternative, we could take the metaphoric road and call green wines those made under sustainable principles such as organic and biodynamic agriculture, or natural winemaking.
Vinho verde is made with young grapes that give the drink a cripspier acidity compared to more rippen whites. It is common for them to have a fizzy needle and not enough bubbles for it to becomes a sparkling (although there are sparkling versions) but enough to notice and enjoy.
Try: Portuguese Vinho Verde.
Somewhere a wine snob is getting a migraine right now and not because they’re hangover but because this finally exists. Blue wine is a recently launched innovation developed by a group of Spaniards from the Bierzo region in the Northwest.
The wine is a blend of red and white grapes that is dyed blue with natural pigments and then sweetened with a non caloric sweetener. It’s low in alcohol with 11.5% ABV and recommended cold. Yay or nay? Time to put that open mindedness to the test!
Try: Gïk Vino Azul.
Deeper and darker, it is a colour often found when observing a deep hued glass of Malbec, or as it’s known in France, Vin Noir (black wine), made in Cahors and once praised by Roman emperors medieval kings.
Malbec wines are strong in flavour but not overly tannic, very strong coloured and with a lovely mix of berries and sweet spice on the palate. An excellent BBQ wine.
Try: Argentinian Malbec, French Cahors.
Violet is not just the name of a colour or a pretty flower, it’s one of the most coveted aromas in wines as well as a tone that you can appreciate in the borders of some reds. This delicate floral perfume is caused by a compound called β-ionone which is not as highly volatile as others, so you might want to swirl that glass for a while to pick those wild flowers.
Some of the grapes that are prone to become wines with violet notes are Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo, Cabernet Franc and on occasion, Pinot Noir.
Try: Bordeaux reds, aged Pinot Noir, Barbaresco.
Gabriela’s passion for writing is only matched by her love for food and wine. Journalist, confectioner and sommelier, she fell in love with Ireland years ago and moved from Venezuela to Dublin in 2014.
Since then, she has written about and worked in the local food scene, and she’s determined to discover and share the different traditions, flavours and places that have led Irish food and drink to fascinate her.