What is the layer of a wine?
The layer of a wine refers to the visual phase of a wine tasting. It is a term that we use in oenology to determine the amount of colour that a wine has once it has been served in the glass. As we explained in the post on how to do a wine tasting at home, the first step is to analyse the colour. Sight is one of the first senses to appreciate the characteristics of a wine, and although it is not the most decisive, it will give us significant information about its ageing, alcohol content, glycerine and residual sugar content.
In this case, we will focus on red wines, as the layer is easier to appreciate. To do this, we must tilt the glass at 45 degrees on a white background and in good light, and look at the different colours and chromatic intensity in the same wine. We will be able to appreciate different shades of colour. The rim is the liquid part that is furthest from the centre and closest to the edge, and indicates the degree of maturity of the wine. The layer will be observed in the central part of the liquid, and the more difficult it is to see the bottom, the greater the layer will be. The intensity and tone of the layer will depend on different factors, such as the type of grape used, the maturation or ageing of the wine, the amount of skins used in its production, the climate…
Types of wine layer
The greater the opacity of the wine, the greater the layer, with high layer wines being more complex in the mouth and with greater structure. A high layer wine has a higher concentration of tannins and proliferols, so it will be a very concentrated and dark wine, with a lot of body in the mouth.
In wines with lower layers, on the other hand, we will be able to see through them, and they are usually lighter and softer. They are wines with less structure, but they are still round and structured wines.
In addition to the layer, we should also pay attention to the tears, which are the drops that fall down the walls of the glass. Thick, dense tears that descend slowly are indicative of wines with higher alcohol content and structure. They also indicate the presence of glycerol, a sweeter and denser alcohol than ethanol.
We have many layers to discover friends!