My colleague promised to bring some “astounding” wine to the table some time ago where he jokingly placed this windex-looking beverage in front of me. Blue wine is a thing, at least in its country of origin, Spain. My initial prejudice immediately writes it off as a gimmick, hell I even write it off as arrogance towards the hard work of winemakers. A beverage with the aesthetic qualities of white, red and rose, in all its shadows of opacity, clarity and colors, ought to supply enough visual stimulance for the consumer. However, finding blue wine on Danish supermarket shelves is indicative of a successful business venture, where there is an apparent market.
I am told the blue colour is extracted through the combined white & red grape skins’ natural anthocyanins, a flavonoid molecule responsible for colour in vegetables and fruit. Beetroot, Elderberry, Buckthorn and Turmeric are just some of the natural dies used in food products, a notable example is yoghurt products died with the purple hue of beets, supposedly to peak the interest of children.
The nature and intensity of colour within wine is defined by a wide range of circumstances. The grape varietal natural produces hues of different characteristics. A Provencal rosé based on Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah will bring forth a pink-grapefruit colour, whilst Loire-valley based Rosé made on Pinot Noir may have a more pomegranate-like color. Aged Barolos from Piedmont may take on a brick-red color, whilst California lower range zinfandel may have blackcurrant colours reminiscent of Ribena. The length of the fermentation process is a personal tool for the winemaker where either a rapid extraction period or a slow – temperature controlled contributes to color character. Furthermore, the given vintage of a wine also has an impact on the intensity of color in the wine, as will the duration of oak-maturation (even the age of the barrels) will also contribute to an alteration in colour.
I love to explore the colours of wine, they are indicative of a craftmanship only mastered by a very select few. So with a glass of this blue chardonnay in my glass, I allow myself to give this concoction a chance. First off, the color is a worryingly steely-blue , albeit impressive in a sort of artistic way. The first whiff gives of distinct notes of unripe peaches, lemon-flavoured soda pop. Secondary notes reveal citrus peels, but also a certain candied edge of carnival-fare hard candies. The flavour has a rather sharp acidity, but not disconcerting. The flavours reveal some of the same as the aromas, but coupled with quinine-tonic bitter tones, yet balanced out by plenty of stone fruit. As is commonly known, Chardonnay is a chameleon grape that can manifest itself in many different expressions, but this chardonnay really lacks any distinct character and would come across as generic, yet this candied- sweetness really puts in a league of its own, and that is certainly not a good thing.
My verdict pretty much reinforces my preconceptions and i’m further clarified in my thoughts that Blue wine is a gimmicky business venture brought forth to appeal to lowest common denominator of wine-enjoyment. If you have considered trying this product, I would say save your money and buy some gorgeous pink rosé to guzzle down during these hot summer months.
Not only does it taste way better, it is also true wine-making, not some ridiculous marketing scheme. If, in the case, you don’t want to waste an open bottle of it, then toss in a bunch of ice cubes and get it down as soon as possible from large bowl glasses: