The store owner at City Vino, Rita Allan, challenged me, your humble (ahem) weekly blog writer, with the topic “Does Raspberry Color Mean Raspberry Flavor?” in my wine, as all the wines in this weekend’s tasting skew to a lovely shade in the raspberry color spectrum. As I spent time over the last several days pondering how to frame the blog for this week, my inner Prince surfaced, and these modified lyrics were running through my head over and over again:
She drank a
The kind you find in a local wine store
And if it was warm out, she’d probably drink much more
I think she loves it
You’ll thank me for the ear worm later. I promise.
While the color of the wine can lead to some deductions when it comes to the wine poured in your glass, usually it is not indicative of the flavor components of the wine. More so, color can sometimes lead you to be able to narrow down the possible grapes that the wine was made from, the climate where the grapes were grown, or the age of the wine, but alas, not the perceived flavor.
This wine color chart from the website Wine Folly gives you a pictorial idea of what color means to a wine. This chart doesn’t include all grape varieties, but it shows you that a lighter colored red wine is often made from Pinot Noir, and most likely won’t be made from Malbec or Syrah. If the wine in your glass has a bit of a blueish tint at the edge where the wine touches the glass, that often means a lower acid wine which would indicate that the grapes were grown in a fairly warm region (acid drops quickly in warmer areas and stays higher in cooler ones). The bottom right corner of the chart shows what happens to red wines as they age. They take on more brick-like colors and get paler too.
The four wines in our tasting this week all show in your glass with different yet apparent shades of raspberry. But will they have a raspberry flavor? They might. But, but, but, Kathy, you said that the color of the wine isn’t indicative of the flavor. It isn’t. The flavors come from chemical compounds that are formed during fermentation, but it is possible that any or all of these wines may exhibit raspberry flavors, but the color cannot show us which will, and which won’t.
One of our featured wines is from Niederosterreich, in Austria, and is the 2017 Pratsch Zweigelt, which is a crossing of the St. Laurent and Blaufränkisch grapes. Rather than tell you what flavors or aromas you may find in this wine, we are going to let you judge for yourself. We will say that this wine is fruity, and has a medium body, with medium or a bit higher acidity, and soft tannins. Now that the weather is getting warmer, this would pair beautifully with some barbeque. It is also a good pairing alongside tomato-based pasta dishes and goat cheese, cream cheese, and gouda.
Another wine in our tasting is the 2021 Carol Shelton Wild Thing Dry Rendezvous Rosé from Mendocino County, California. This is a rosé made from 62 percent Carignane, 36 percent Zinfandel, and 2 percent Petite Sirah. This wine pairs happily with just about everything, including merely an empty glass. Try it with meats, fish, spicy dishes, and mild or soft cheeses.
Our wine from France is the 2018 Château du Hureau Tuffe Saumur-Champigny, which is 100 percent Cabernet Franc. Wine tip here: Saumur-Champigny is in the Central Loire Valley, and wines from this area have to be at least 85 percent Cabernet Franc. So if you see it on a label, you now know what it is made from. This is a very fragrant wine with layered complexity on the palate. Pairing suggestions for this wine include grilled beef and poultry, dishes made with wild mushrooms including risotto, and bold cheeses.
Last but not least, we venture to the Alto Adige, in Northern Italy, for the 2020 Kellerei Kaltern Caldaro Schiava. This wine is made from 100 percent Schiava, which is called Trollinger in Germany, as it comes from a region near the border of the two countries. This is a light-bodied red wine, with soft tannins, that goes best with white meats, light sausages, and cheeses.
This weekend don your raspberry beret (or not) and join us in the shop for these lovely raspberry-in-color wines and see if the flavor (by coincidence) matches the color. Cheers!