How To Identify Wines By Their Colour

How To Identify Wines By Their Colour

by , 16 February 2018

Can you tell the difference between a Pinot Noir and a Cabernet Sauvignon – just by holding it up to the light? Not only is it a great party trick, the colour of the wine also gives you a hint of its flavours and taste. From Red to Rosé, we walk through the various shades and hues, and recommend our favourite bottles to help you try it out.



1. Pinot Noir | Bright Crimson

Bright in colour, Pinot Noir is packed with red cherry fruits and an intense flavour. Expect earthy spices and complex mushroom notes that lead to a velvety long finish. McWilliam’s McW 660 Reserve Tumbarumba Pinot Noir is the ideal wine to pair with roasted duck with cherries or mushroom risotto.

2. Tempranillo | Garnet

This vibrant rouge variety holds aromas of plum, peppery red currants and cherry fruit. The palate is soft but full-bodied, with flavours of mulberry and spicy red currants, and cherry. The McWilliam’s Off The Press Shiraz Tempranillo can be described as bold and spicy.

3. Cabernet Sauvignon | Deep Ruby

A darker-hued variety, McWilliam’s Hanwood Estate Cabernet Sauvignon expresses darker fruits like blackberry, plum and dark cherry, with hints of chocolate and dried herb. The balanced oak flavours of vanilla and nutmeg add complexity to the palate, which finishes soft, yet powerful.


1. Pinot Grigio | Pale Lemon

Pale in colour, Pinot Grigio is light on the palate with hints of ripe pear and green apple which follow through from the nose to the palate with nuances of mineral and floral notes. The refreshing McWilliam’s On The Grapevine Pinot Grigio has a moderate amount of residual sugar which helps provide weight and balance to this easy drinking, food-friendly style of wine.

2. Sauvignon Blanc | Pale Straw

Harvested from vines grown at an average of 480 metres above sea level; fresh, fragrant and vibrant, McWilliams McW 480 Tumbarumba Sauvignon Blanc is a perfect match for many cuisines. A fresh style displaying passionfruit and other exotic tropical fruit flavours with a delicate mineral finish.

3. Chardonnay | Straw

After 18 months in the bottle, a backbone of citrus and refined texture leads to a long refreshing finish. McWilliam’s Single Vineyard Tumbarumba Chardonnay encompasses both purity and power with intense length and flavour. Restrained barrel-derived cinnamon and subtle struck-flint aromatics allude to the purity and intensity of this wine.

4. Sémillon | Gold

Intense flavours of lemon marmalade, dried apricot and mango are evident, with nuances of peach, red apple, and exotic lantana fruit flavours which are all within the McWilliam’s Morning Light Botrytis Semillon.



1. Rosé | Pale Blush

On The Grapevine Rosé combines the aromas of wild strawberries and melon, with a subtle hint of grapefruit and tart cherry. Dry and savoury, the palate displays bright, crisp acidity and a mineral texture. It is perfect for a summer luncheon with grilled seafood and salads.

2. Fruitwood Pink | Blush

McWilliam’s Fruitwood Pink is a wonderfully fruit-driven wine for those who enjoy the “sweeter” things in life. Dazzling tropical flavours of pineapple and guava are well balanced with clean lemon and lime citrus notes. Enjoy it chilled on a hot summer’s day or as the base ingredient for a wine cocktail.

Read More: How To Make 8 Easy Summer Cocktails.

This is an edited version of a story that first appeared on WineMag.

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Since 1877, when founder Samuel McWilliam first planted vines on the banks of the Murray River in New South Wales, the McWilliam family have produced six consecutive generations of exceptional winemakers.

As custodians of the New South Wales wine industry, McWilliam’s has carefully selected a rich portfolio of premium vineyards located in the cool climate regions of Hilltops, Tumbarumba, Canberra and the expansive plains of the Riverina. Our wines showcase regional specific characters, premium quality, impressive depth and full flavour expression.