Quality red wines, those with the highest ratings in guides such as the Peñín or Parker guide, are currently those with an intense, lively colour.
Particles called anthocyanins (from the Greek "anthos": 'flower' + "kyanos": 'blue') are responsible for the colour in red wines, these being red, purple or blue pigments found in leaves, flowers and fruits such as red raspberries, blackberries and blueberries and, in the case in point, red grape varieties, generally in their skins.
In red wines we can describe the tone of this colour as follows: light red, dark red, reddish, violet red, cherry red, redcurrant red, blood red, brick red, orangey red, yellowy red, brown red, carmine, ruby, maroon, vermilion, purple, violet, black red, russet, Picota cherry, ripe Picota cherry.
This tone varies depending on several aspects:
1. The age of the wine: younger wines are bluer in tone while older ones are more orange.
2. The grape variety: some, such as Syrah, have a black red skin colour, while others such as Merlot are bluer and others, such as Garnacha, tend more towards pink.
We sometimes find sediment at the bottom of bottles that have been laid down for some time and this sediment is also related to the wine's colour. In this case, the particles have become large and have sunk to the bottom, the wine therefore becoming paler. What we should do when we are going to drink this wine is leave it upright for a day and then decant before serving, thereby ensuring the sediment doesn't get into the glass and the wine can be enjoyed to the full.