0 Elements

The observation of the wine in the glass allows to evaluate the clarity, the color with its nuances and the consistency, replaced by the perlage in the case of sparkling wines. The first phase of the tasting is thevisual exam - which is also the first point of the AIS wine tasting sheet - which provides a series of precious clues to understand the type, composition and evolution of the wine that is being observed. This examination can also highlight negative situations such as alterations and diseases that can make you decide to stop tasting. Most of the time the aspect of the wine does not lie: it lies in the ability and experience of the taster to draw on his own memory and connect what he sees to the wines tasted previously.

  • Clearness (residues);
  • Color (pigments);
  • Consistency (ethyl alcohol);
  • Effervescence (CO²).

Wine tasting sheet for visual examination: clarity

Absence of suspended particles. To evaluate the clarity in a rigorous way, an instrumental analysis must be carried out with a nephelometer capable of measuring the penetration and dispersion of a light ray inside the wine. The evaluation of clarity can be hindered by the poor transparency of the wine, or rather by the liquid's property of letting the light rays penetrate which depends on the quality of the coloring substances present in the wine. The maximum passage of light occurs in white wines, rosés and some reds. For reds with a compact color it is necessary to orient the glass in order to take advantage of every minimum brightness or better still place it between the eye and a light source such as a simple candle.



it is a wine with numerous suspended particles which therefore presents an accentuated opalescence and strong turbidity. Generally these are wines in which alterations, unwelcome fermentations, malolactic fermentation or other have occurred. UNACCEPTABLE.

Quite clear

it is a wine with some suspended particles. Quality is not necessarily compromised. The causes can be a long refinement in the bottle or bottling without filtration in red wines rich in coloring matter, while in white wines it happens if they are bottled with yeasts and then refermented in the bottle. In these cases the handling of the bottle during pouring must be carried out with extreme care. In all other cases the presence of some particles must arouse suspicion.

it is a wine without particles in suspension and therefore does not present any deposit.
it is a wine totally devoid of suspended particles and which presents an intense brightness.

it is a wine that has a beautiful luster and that vividly reflects the light rays that strike it. This situation is favored by the presence of carbon dioxide bubbles because these refract light rays and is therefore more frequent in sparkling wines and sparkling wines. Also some important white wines, passito or liqueur, can have a particularly bright and therefore brilliant color.

Wine tasting sheet for visual examination: The color

Color is the most important element of the visual examination because it allows us to immediately understand some characters of the wine and makes us foresee others, which will then be verified in the olfactory and taste-olfactory tests. The color of the wine is determined by the polyphenols (anthocyanins, flavones, leucoanthocians, catechins, kampferol, quercitins, cinnamic acids, benzoic acids ...) which are mainly present in the skin of the berries. To obtain colored wines during fermentation, contact between the liquid part of the must and the solid one must necessarily occur. The red vinification also defined with "maceration" allows to obtain red wines (200-500 mg / l of coloring substances) e rosé wines (20-50 mg / l of coloring substances), for which a partial maceration is carried out. The concentration of coloring substances depends on the intrinsic characteristics of the grape variety, on the temperature and on the duration of fermentation, on the quantity of sulfur dioxide used and on the number of pumping over. On the contrary, by eliminating the pomace, i white wines (20-25 mg / l of coloring substances) also from black grapes. To produce white wines rich in personality, cryomaceration of the must is used and skin maceration (ie in contact with the skins) to extract the components that make the color, scent and structure more intense. The evaluation of the color of the wine is fundamental to verify its correspondence with its typology, as well as the relationship with the pedoclimatic environment, the vine and the aging potential. The examination of the color ascertains that in the wine there are no alterations such as oxidasic and phosphatic, ferric and protein cases (very rare) which could cause the insolubization of some substances and the formation of colored precipitates. The color tone depends on the type of pigments present in the wine, the acidity, the pH and the oxidation state of the polyphenols. In addition to being a reference to understand the grape in front of you, it indicates the evolutionary state of the wine, since its variations are determined by the oxidation state of the pigments.


Greenish yellow

it is the color that is found in young, light and fresh white wines, not very soft and acidulous. They are wines obtained from a rigorous white vinification of grapes harvested slightly in advance that may have undergone clarification and filtration. This shade can be described as a very soft yellow with sharp green reflections that generally diminish after the first year of life.

Straw yellow

it is the color that is found in most white wines still quite young and fairly balanced. Generally these are wines obtained with a white vinification of grapes harvested in full physiological ripeness, therefore with a good acid / sugar ratio. This shade can be described as a color similar to that of straw, while the different intensity or the reflections (greenish or golden) depend on the pedoclimatic environment, the grape variety, the processing techniques and the evolution of the wine.

Golden yellow

it is the color found in the most evolved and soft white wines. These wines are obtained from perfectly ripe or overripe grapes, with a possible short maceration before vinification and with fermentation and / or aging in wooden barrels. This warm, golden hue is reminiscent of yellow gold. If it is devoid of vivacity it indicates a negative evolution of the characteristics of the wine which is probably old and / or too oxidized,

Amber yellow

it is the color that is found in white wines that are passito or liqueur, very soft and not very fresh. This color must be lively and shiny, if it is off it indicates a negative situation like old and / or too oxidized wines.

Soft pink

is the color of rosé wines obtained from black berried grapes subjected to maceration with a short contact with the skins. If this shade has violet reflections the wine is young, if it has coppery reflections (onion skin color) it can be thought that the wine was obtained from the white vinification of grapes with delicate coloring matter, such as pinot grigio.

Cherry pink

it is the color of rose wines with a more intense shade similar to cherry pulp. These wines are generally obtained with a maceration and a passage of longer skins.

Claret Rose

is the color of rose wines with a shade similar to red wines, so much so that it could also be called very tenuous ruby ​​red. These wines are generally obtained with a maceration and a contact with the skins longer than the previous ones.

Purple red

it is the color of very young and hard red wines. It has strong violet reflections that recall fuchsia pink and is comparable to the cardinal's garb (cardinal red).

Ruby red
it is the color of red wines that tend to be young with an excellent balance between softness and hardness and generally well balanced.
Garnet red

it is the color of the most evolved and soft red wines. If the shade is compact it reminds the color of blood, if it is more transparent than the one of the pomegranate,

orange red

it is the color of red wines with a long and very soft aging. The tone is reminiscent of brick, with reflections ranging from brown to orange. If it is dull or in young wines, it is a negative indication of oxidation that has caused its degradation.

Wine tasting sheet for visual examination: consistency

The consistency of a wine is an indication of its intake of ethyl alcohol and extractive substances. Wine is a substance consisting mainly of water (75-85%) and ethyl alcohol (10-14%), followed by acids, possibly sugars and many other substances that flow over each other making the wine take on a variable aspect, more or less dense, with a consistency higher than that of water. Monovalent alcohols (ethanol ...) are crucial to give consistency to wine forMarangoni effect (= mass transfer along an interface due to a surface tension gradient). The evaluation of the consistency is also done to verify that the wine is not affected by diseases such as the stringy that can appear in white wines making it take on an appearance similar to that of oil. The consistency is evaluated during the barroom (when you pour the wine into the glass you evaluate how it falls to the bottom), glass rotation (holding the glass at the base it is rotated slowly, carefully observing the movement of the wine); observation of tears and arches (after having rotated the wine in the glass this goes down along the wall forming tears and arches).


On the glass, the spaces between the tears left by the rotation of the wine for the Marangoni effect are called arches and can be wide or narrow. In particular it has been observed that if the wine is very rich in ethanol the arches are denser, but this is not to be taken as an absolute truth. The consistency is given by: alcohols (ethyl, propyl ...), polyalcohols (glycerol ...), polyphenols (tannins, anthocyanins ...), monosaccharides (glucose, fructose ...) polysaccharides (dextrane, gums ...). A wine can be:


it is a wine that descends into the glass too lightly, reliably and inconsistently, almost as if it were water. UNACCEPTABLE.

Not very consistent

it is a wine that goes down into the glass in a rather light way, with fast tears and wide bows. This situation is found in wines that are rather poor in ethyl alcohol and have a weak structure, with a softness and hardness ratio in favor of the latter.

Fairly consistent

it is a wine that descends into the glass with moderate smoothness, fairly quick tears and medium-wide arches. This situation is found in wines of all colors as long as they have a good alcohol component and structure, with a softness and hardness ratio often in good balance.


it is a wine that flows into the glass in a way that is not smooth, with slow and regular tears and dense bows. This situation is found in wines rich in ethyl alcohol and very soft structure (sometimes sugar).

it is a wine that descends into the glass in a syrupy way, with very slow tears and very thick arches. This situation is found in very few raisins, sweet liqueur or botrytis. If a wine that does not belong to these types is viscous it is a defect caused by the stringy.

Now you can buy my book dedicated to aspiring sommeliers or scroll the page to continue reading the article!

Book "Sommelier: the Illustrated Manual" Special Edition 2022

All my notes on wine and food in one book.

(110 customer reviews)

 38,00 VAT included!

Available on demand

COMPLIMENTARY, only for those who buy my book on this blog, a copy of the First Collector's Edition of my Sparkling Wine Guide "500 Bubbles in 500", cover price € 25,30. [While stocks last]

Wine tasting sheet for visual examination: The effervescence

Effervescence replaces consistency in the evaluation of sparkling wines and champagnes. The effervescence is due to the presence of froth and bubbles of carbon dioxide, a gas that is released from the wine poured into the glass. Carbon dioxide is positive both in these types of wines and for young reds, but it becomes decidedly negative in evolved or passito red wines as it denotes probable unwanted fermentations. The effervescence evaluated positively during the visual examination is that linked to the presence of natural carbon dioxide formed by the yeasts during the alcoholic fermentation in the production of sparkling wines, whether they are obtained with the Classic Method or Martinotti, sweet or dry. In addition to determining the development of perlage, CO² has a similar effect at low temperatures: it favors the release of volatile substances, emphasizes the scent of wine and causes a slight tingling in the mouth, a tactile sensation of pungency that accentuates the gustatory freshness and hardness in general, attenuating the sweetness and all the softness.


Grain of bubbles

depending on the grain, the bubbles can be coarse, quite fine or fine. The coarse bubbles have dimensions that resemble those of carbonated mineral water. The fairly fine bubbles have intermediate dimensions and are the standard of sparkling wines on the market. The fine bubbles have very small dimensions similar to those of the tip of a pin.

Number of bubbles

depending on the number, the bubbles can be scarce, quite numerous, numerous. The bubbles are scarce if they are very rarefied and / or almost absent. The bubbles are quite numerous if they appear discontinuously and whose formation is limited to a few points on the walls of the glass. The bubbles are several if they are abundant and form continuously from many points of the walls of the glass.

Bubbles persistence

depending on the persistence the bubbles can be evanescent, quite persistent, persistent. evanescent bubbles they disappear in a few seconds after pouring the sparkling wine into the glass. The pretty persistent bubbles they form for a few minutes and are generally not particularly numerous. The persistent bubbles they form quickly and continuously even after a long period of resting of the sparkling wine in the glass and generally they are also numerous.

Quiet / still wine = CO² content max 2 g / l; overpressure at 20 ° max 1 atm; appearance sometimes with light pétillant

Sparkling wine = CO² content max 2-5 g / l; overpressure at 20 ° 1 - 2,5 atm; appearance with light foam

Sparkling wine = content of CO² min 6 g / l; overpressure at 20 ° min 3 atm; appearance with perlage

As always, I hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful!



error: This content is copyright ©Chiara Bassi perlagesuite.com