Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
What red wines won’t give me a red tongue?
—Ria F., Cape Town, South Africa
I don’t know about you, but my tongue is already red! I’m teasing, of course. Some of the more concentrated red wines, like Syrah or Petite Sirah, naturally have more pigment in them, and some winemaking practices can coax more concentration out of a wine, and along with that, more pigmentation. Younger wines also tend to be darker than older wines.
To avoid the purple-tongue effect, you can pick lighter reds to drink that have less pigmentation, like Gamay or Pinot Noir. Keep in mind that the pigmentation interacts with your saliva and the protein on your tongue. Eating something fatty or oily and staying well hydrated will help keep the pigmentation from sticking.
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