Observing a Saint-Emilion wine to taste it better
Which is the first sense alerted for a wine? The sight!
Looking at a Saint-Emilion wine allows appreciation of its color, its clarity and its shine. These give clues about its age and evolution. However, this should take place in good conditions, so that no subtlety is missed.
The colors of Saint-Emilion wines
Saint-Emilion wines are indeed red, but they take on many tones throughout their life. It's a question of maturity. When they are young, those wines have are ruby in color. Throughout the years, the pomegranate and deep purple hints will evolve towards more layered tones, more orange. Finally, looking at really advanced wines, brownish tones can be detected, when daylight goes through the precious nectar.
Can the age of a wine can be estimated based on its color?
Yes, in general, the color of a wine allows for a approximate idea of its age. Be cautious on those first impressions, as they tend to influence the rest of the tasting. It's not because you see some layered hints that the wine will necessarily be evolved. The visual hints are only an indication. You could risk conditioning your brain and tell yourself: “hold on, I can see tiled and orange hints, so it's an old wine”. You should keep in mind that the color of some wines evolve more rapidly than some others.
When sight plays tricks
You can't blindly rely on observing a wine because you can't necessarily trust your eyes. Indeed, some external factors can influence how you see the color. For example, the choice of the table cloth is very important when you serve wine. If it is served on a red table cloth, red wine will seem much more full-bodied, than the same wine served on a white table cloth. That is why tasting rooms all have white backgrounds so not to disrupt the sight.
How about you? When you taste a Saint-Emilion wine, do you pay attention to its color?