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Wine Spectator School

Class 2: Tasting Reds

SEE: Clarity, Color, Intensity, Legs

A wine's color is largely determined by the grape variety (in addition to its age). Red wines range from (darkest to lightest): purple » ruby red » garnet/brick » tawny/amber.

Color can also indicate the age and the health of a wine: A young red wine's color should be darker, rather than lighter, and may have a purplish tinge to it.

Over time, the color of a red wine evolves towards amber.




  1. Pick up your glass of Beaujolais and tilt it away from you at a 45-degree angle.
  2. Look at the core -not the rim- of the wine. Make sure the backdrop is white: a napkin, tablecloth or sheet...

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