[Curiosity] Where does the color of the wine come from?

Red, white or rosé: we are all familiar with the color palette of wine, which also comes in many shades. But do you know how this coloring is obtained? It does not depend solely on the colour of the grape, as you might think. Several factors come into play during the winemaking process, starting with the grape variety, which plays a major role, but also the way the maceration or fermentation process is conducted... Even the age of your bottle has a role to play on the color of the wine!

To obtain a red wine, we use red, black or purple grapes. By coming into contact with the coloured pigments (called anthocyanins), contained in the grape skin, the grape juice will begin to turn red. The grape must, that is to say, the freshly crushed juice + flesh + skin, will macerate and the yeasts will start their fermentation work (transformation of sugar into alcohol). The period during which the must is in vat is more or less long. The longer it lasts, the more the juice will gain anthocyanins and develop a dark colour.

What about tannin? It is also from the polyphenols family, like anthocyanins. But it is colorless. This element ensures the longevity of the wine. It is found in the grapes in natural state, but also in the wood (barrels). The use of new oak barrels strengthens its presence in the wine.

As you probably guessed, the opposite happens during the making of white wines: immediately pressed after arriving in the vat, the grape juice will ferment separately from the skin and seeds. Although white wines are mostly obtained from white grapes, it is possible to obtain white wine from black grapes, provided the pulp is white and the juice does not come into contact with the skin. Take the example of the pressed pinot noir immediately upon arrival of the harvest: there is therefore no maceration, the juice ferments alone.

What about the rosés? Contrary to popular belief, and on the exception of certain specific cases, rosés are not the result of a mixture of red and white wine. They simply had a shorter maceration time.

But if you are a good observer or wine lover, you will have noticed that there are not only three colors of wine. They come in many different shades. This time, another parameter comes into play: age. As they age, the colour of Burgundy wines will gradually change to more tiled colours, white wines to amber colours, and rosés to honey or orange colours.

To learn more about the colours and aromas of the wines, do not hesitate to ask our sommeliers any questions during your visits to our cellars. You can book a slot now by clicking on the "visit our cellars" tab in the top menu.


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