Wine Time

The Trick to Examining Color and Opacity in Wine

The color of wine can be one of the wine lover's greatest pleasures.

And whether the old-man piss of an orange wine or the Bologna red of a Nebbiolo (like the Barolo in the image above), the hue of wine not only delivers aesthetic reward but also serves as a gauge of the wine's fitness.

Whenever we pour, taste and experience wine, its first impact on the senses is visual. In many cases, we can determine whether or not the wine is fit to drink just from looking at it.

But in order to examine its color and opacity properly, wine professionals will often hold the glass against a white surface, whether a fine linen white tablecloth or a paper napkin (almost always available at hand's reach when you're opening wine).

The "white balance" gives us the most pure expression of the wine's chromatic character, in this case a 1998 Bartolo Mascarello that I pulled from my wine cellar this week. I'm happy to report that it showed wonderfully.



Follow Eating Our Words on Facebook and on Twitter @EatingOurWords

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jeremy Parzen writes about wine and modern civilization for the Houston Press. A wine trade marketing consultant by day, he is also an adjunct professor at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Piedmont, Italy. He spends his free time writing and recording music with his daughters and wife in Houston.
Contact: Jeremy Parzen