After so much theory, we will now dedicate part of our discussion about the evolution of wine to some of its more practical aspects. In previous articles, we have already presented some examples, but now let's go into even more detail, identifying the main characteristics that can provide us with valuable information on the state of evolution of our wine.
VISUAL ANALYSIS: from the very first phase of the tasting, we are able to gather important information. The colour of our wine can in fact provide us with a valuable starting point to ponder over the state of evolution of our wine.
- WHITE WINES: whether they are still, sparkling or effervescent, young white wines are generally characterised by pale colours tending towards cold (greenish) nuances. A subsequent evolution of the colour towards warmer shades is then possible (straw yellow, golden yellow) even if it cannot always be considered the desired result: if the wine was produced for immediate consumption, this change in colour could, on the contrary, be considered a real flaw. The change to darker shades (orange, amber, even brown) due to the oxidation process is in fact characteristic of old white wines. Clearly, the choice by the producer to opt for an ageing in wood would also affect the evolution of colour: in this case, the colour will be more intense from the start and will tend to take on shades increasingly tending to golden - or deteriorate to brown tones.
- RED WINES: in their youth they usually present violet or purple hues, which tend to fade later to shades of ruby. Just as for whites, even in red wines the oxidation process of colour is one of the most visible signs of the passage of time, introducing garnet and brick nuances that will gradually become more and more evident. Although the use of wood also strongly affects the process of colour evolution for red wines, it is equally true that this contribution to the colour may well be less evident to the eyes of the taster, especially in wines naturally characterised by very intense, dense hues.
NOTABLE EXCEPTIONS: speaking of colour as an important suggestion for evaluating the state of evolution of a wine, we cannot fail to name one of the most famous exceptions we could possibly come across.
Nebbiolo, by far one of the finest grapes in northern Italy, is a variety with poor colouring potential: wines produced with a blend composed entirely or to a large extent by Nebbiolo will therefore be characterised right from its youth by a rather pale ruby red colour, which may quickly show garnet reflections. They therefore tend to show characteristics generally attributed to mature wines.
This notable exception demonstrates how appearances can be deceptive ... but at the same time also that, from an ever more detailed knowledge of the vines, wines and their characteristics, we can obtain the most precious key to guide our tasting!
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