The first step is to appreciating the color of wine : intensity of the shade, clarity or turbidity (presence of disturbances arising from suspended solids), brightness, the off-gas.
It gives the initial information on wine quality: his age, the richness of its tannins for a red wine and suggests his taste.
Pour a glass of wine into a suitable wine glass.
To appreciate color you need a light source and a white background.
the différent components of the wines color are :
Its nuance (overtone): using a colour chart of colors (white wine: pale yellow, golden yellow, straw-like, light green, golden, amber or brown.and so on). For a red wine ruby, garnet, red, brick, maroon or even in some very old burgundy wines: brownish.
Its intensity: light, medium, sustained, dark, deep, intense, and so on.
Is there sediment, bits of cork or any other floaters? An older red wine will be more translucent than younger red wines.
The brilliance (or bright) indicate a certain "vibrancy" of the wine due to its level of acidity.
Vocabulary used to describe the brightness of a wine: crystal-clear, glossy, bright, dull, drab, and so on.
Interpretation: a bright wine (especially for a white wine) is often a sign of hight level of acidity. But this not mean an acidic wine. The balance of the wine is more importante to judge it's quality.
You can observe it by turning strongly a bottle in front of a lamp to see an eventual collapse of a sediment.
Vocabulary of clarity: bright, crystal clear, clear, dull, and so on.
Vocabulary of turbidity: Turbid, casse (French word refering to a diastasic or chemical sickness, which cause a wine to become cloudy and to change colour, several form of the malady exist: Iron casse,copper casse,oxidic casse and protein casse.) hazy, dim, veiled, and so on.
Interpretation: filtered wine? Blow cold (deposit of white crystals of tartar)? Vintage warm and sunny (sometime deposit of some colored substances in the form of heavy dough)?
Observe the following two points:
The disc (disk US); tilt the glass and observe the surface of wine at the edge of the glass. Determine the thickness of the disc;
The traces left on the inside of a glass as wine run slowly back down after being swirled.
Interpretation: it reflect the content of glycerol (fatness), alcohol (ethanol) and sugars.
The presence of legs (or tears, or church windows) indicates that the wine contains a high level of alcohol, glycerine (wich is a subproduct of the alcoholic fermentation) and sugars.
A lot of tears means that the content of glycerol / ethanol is important.
Slow tears (evaluation of the time for the tears to reach the rest of the wine) means that the residual sugar content is high.
It reflect the level of carbon dioxide (CO2), wich is generated naturally during fermentations.
If its level is too high, it is a flaw in a wine.
However, it also confer a certain freshness in hot vintages as 2003.
In a sparkling wine, we judge the finesse and speed of the bubbles, the persistence of the emission of bubbles along the inside wall of glass.