Just a little bit of purple in this very accessible Spanish red – color? Let’s talk about color first.
In the early 20th century the chemist R.M. Willstätter found that most fruits which are noticeably red or purple have pigment made of cyanidine-based compounds. Bear with me: I promise this isn’t too
painful (and therefore not too accurate, either). Cyanidine, a kind of anthocyanin (if you care at all), changes color depending upon the pH of the solution it’s in. Very roughly, the more acidic the solution, the more cyanidine appears to be red; the less acidic, the more it appears to be purple. (The pH of a liquid doesn’t exactly correlate to the acidity, but let’s just pretend it does for now.)
Those cyanidine compounds are in the skin of the grape; though you are not drinking the skins, you are in fact drinking things pulled from the skins into the wine (this is where most of the flavor comes from, in fact). The wine’s pH will have an impact on the color because of this, but it’s not the only thing influencing color.
As most of us know, wines change color with age. One big reason is that the compounds mentioned above slowly join up with other fellows and turn into that flaky stuff you see at the bottom of old bottles. The color gets less intense over time. Whites tend to brown a bit, becoming more straw or hay colored. Reds on the other hand get a more subtle gradient from an almost orange to a brick color; some look tawny. Old reds will tend not to be purple.
Back to the wine at hand. The Dehesa Gago (“g” according to the label and the designated shorthand) from famed Spanish winemaker Telmo Rodriguez is an impressive eight dollar wine made from Tempranillo. Just after being opened, it’s as cranky as most wines a year old, but given a little bit of air it opens up just fine. The oak works well: it isn’t overbearing but it gives it nice palatability (read as: there is a light vanilla in here). Its most notable qualities are the cherry scent and its chewy mouthfeel. Oh yeah, and it’s a dark red with some purple around the rim.
Color & Clarity: 3.0