Does the colour of white wine indicate its quality?

Several factors contribute to the colour of a ‘white’ wine, and the colour can tell us many things about the wine, not necessarily about its quality, though. Some grape varieties produce juice that has a distinctly greenish tint when it is young. if the juice is collected before pressing—called ‘free-run’ juice—it is almost colourless.

Pressed juice is likely to pick up some green colour from the skins. Some white wines are matured in new oak barrels for up to two years, and this can give the wine a golden yellow colour.

White wines change in colour as they age, too. Very often a young wine starts life with a pale green colour, which changes to light straw as the wine ages. After a while the colour can darken to a golden hue, and even, after a considerable time, to a light amber.

This all helps us to know that to expect when we taste a wine. If, for example, we open a bottle of very young wine and find it has an amber colour, we might suspect that it has been treated badly and has possibly oxidised form being left in the sun. a new wine with a pale greenish tint will probably be fresh and youthful in character. But don’t write off any wine purely on colour. Taste it first. It could be a treasure.