We were cleaning up from lunch on Sunday when I asked my wife, Nancy, what she had thought of the red. It was a social lunch with guests, so Nancy hadn't seen the bottle--only tasted the wine.
"It was really good," she said.
It was the '97 Barbaresco Basarin from Moccagatta, I told her.
"Ah, that makes sense," she said. "The color was totally Italian."
I knew what she meant. The color was dark and somewhat muddled, with a hint of brown at the rim--typical for Nebbiolo.
It was interesting to hear her comment though, since she had, in effect, tasted the wine blind. While she had made a mental note on the color, it hadn't really steered her one way or the other. She had relied more on her taste to form an opinion.
If the wine had been served alongside a dark, vivid, purple Cabernet, she might have opted for the one with the supposedly "better" color. Or not.
Many people have become obsessed with color in their wines--the darker and more opaque the better. The more purple, the better. Sight is one of the senses, so seeing a vivid, exciting color in a wine is sure to get the taste buds salivating. But don't let color fool you. There are many wines with impressive color that taste as if they are made of wood. And then there are wines made from Nebbiolo or Pinot Noir, where a murky, tealike color can lead to a sublime experience.
Color tells you something, but not everything. Some of the proof is in the glass, but the most important proof is on the palate.
What's your experience? Do dark-colored wines always win?