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Red wine is poured into a glass
Food & Drink / News

King of the Wine: colourblind

Food & Drink

Our regular feature writer Chris King brings us his latest wine scribblings.

I am colourblind.

Not to the point where everything is grey, but by failing to decipher the numbers in coloured dots. The day I found out; I went home with a letter telling my mum that I was officially colourblind. She refused to believe it, testing me on what colour her jumper was.

“Beige?” I said quizzically.

“It’s oatmeal. You are colourblind!” I still struggle finding my way around a Farrow and Ball colour chart.

I am also colourblind when it comes to wine; but then again, understanding colour – or what it means in terms of the liquid in your glass – can be a bit of a minefield.

White wine is never white! It can be almost clear or golden. Reds are ruby and purple. Even Rosé has a deep variety from insipid pinks to almost red like depths within the bottle.

Which is why it is puzzling when people say with utmost confidence “I don’t like that colour wine!” They’d much rather restrict themselves to one geographical interpretation of a grape variety then ever drink another colour.

Please don’t be like that. Try to look beyond the colour and focus on what it is you don’t like about a particular bottle. Maybe it’s the acid or floral notes that don’t sing for you in white wines. Or it’s the tannins or oak that restrict your interests in reds. The percentage of alcohol could also be a factor.

Try different wines or interpretations of the same grapes to test this out: think Loire or South African Chenin, oaked/unoaked Chardonnay, or Californian Zinfandel and Italian Primitivo which are the same, but different.

Trying wines that are out of your comfort zone, adds greatly to the notion of taking the steps either side of your favourite bottles, that I talked about last time out. You just need to stop saying you don’t like a particular colour and start to appreciate what you do like in new wines.

My tips for trying something different this fortnight are:

Gran Cerdo Tinto (£11, Wayward Wines) Just such an easy drinking wine from a region, Rioja, more commonly associated with big, alcoholic reds that are usually served too warm.

Ciello Bianco Catarratto (£8.99, Latitude) Entry level, low intervention, Sicilian wine that tastes unlike any white you’ll drink in a supermarket; but at a price that won’t hit too hard if you decide it isn’t for you.