Sight is the most immediate sense used in wine degustation. When we observe wine we focus on its colour and can evaluate if we are looking at a white, red or rosé wine.

When visually examining wine we should assess not only its colour, but also the clarity and transparency; the intensity, nuances, tears and effervescence.A wine’s intensity is visible in its colour. If the colour we are looking at is concentrated and dense, the wine is likely to have richer tannins than one with a weaker colour.

Nuances help determine a wine’s age. Yellow is the leading colour in white wines and can be more or less light (even almost colourless). This is because white wines are produced with grapes that don’t ferment in contact with the skins (which is where one can find the compounds responsible for colour). White wines may get darker with age. When excessively oxidised, they may even turn brownish.

Red wines are distinguishable by their red tones. Young reds have darker tones, sometimes even brown. With age, red wines get lighter: the characteristic red colour turns into orangish tones.

The ageing method alters the wine’s colour. When the wine is aged in wood it looses more colour than when it is aged in bottle.

The colours shown are merely illustrative.

Clarity is related to the suspended particles that may be in contact with the wine. Raise the glass to a light source and check if it has particles in suspension. If necessary, remove the particles, since they are unpleasant when tasting. It is important to mention that a cloudy wine is not the same as a wine with sediment and not filtered. Cloudy wine is a consequence of inadequate processes in the production of wine.

Transparency should be evaluated against a white surface as, for instance, a sheet of paper. Place the sheet behind the glass and if you clearly understand what is written on the sheet, then the wine is perfectly transparent. Transparency is a characteristic of white and rosé wines; red wines vary in transparency according to the intensity of their colour.A wine’s flow is visible when one slightly swirls the glass. The wine runs irregularly down the sides of the glass, forming drops which are called “tears” or “legs”. If the wine’s legs move slowly down the sides of the glass, the wine has high alcohol content. If, on the other hand, the drops quickly run down to the liquid, the wine is lighter and less alcoholic.Sparkling wines have the greatest amount of carbon dioxide. Therefore, it is important to assess the quantity and persistence of the bubbles. A quality sparkling wine has small, numerous, persistent bubbles. Many times, in white, rosé and young red wines, one does not see or even taste the gas.