Words By Maura Judkis, The Washington Post
First things first: Black wine isn’t black because of food colouring or some sort of food science trickery. Blue wine, for example, gets its blue colour from anthocyanin, a pigment found in grape skins, and indigotine, a dye extracted from plants. But black wine is just very dark red wine. When you pour it, its legs – the streaks that appear on the inside of the glass – will appear red, but if you put your hand under the glass and look down, it will appear inky and completely opaque.
Black wines vary in flavour profiles – we sampled a few that ranged from lighter to full-bodied and tart to sugary-sweet – but a common element seems to be the flavour of blackberry. There are professional wine writers who can opine at length about black wine and its centuries-long history – how it comes from malbec or saperavi grapes, how it hails from France or the country of Georgia, how it has a bold flavour that can ‘stand up to rich and hearty fare such as foie gras, black truffles, beef, game meats, duck confit and cassoulet,’ wrote Michael Austin in the Chicago Tribune. But what we’re here to talk about is how the colour black – or nearly black, in this case – is gaining ground in the food world.
Lately, some of it has been getting its hue from activated charcoal, a controversial ingredient that some say cleanses toxins from the body. Nutritionists, on the other hand, say it can interfere with medication and have harmful effects in certain quantities. But chefs, and health food cafes in particular, have been putting it in plenty of things – fresh-pressed juices, lemonades, ice cream and pizza crusts.
And now black wine is on the upswing, which some wine writers credit to Instagram. It’s a counterpoint to the super-girly fetishisation of rosé and the lifestyle that accompanies it. Data released by Nielsen indicates that rosé has been one of the fastest-growing segments of the market for two years running.
But maybe #roséallday belongs to an earlier, more optimistic era. Maybe now, since we are in the darkest timeline, is the perfect time for black wine – a dark wine for thinking dark thoughts. Look deep into your glass and you’ll feel like you’re staring into the abyss.
Video: The Post’s Maura Judkis reviews rosé’s goth cousin, black wine. (Grace Raver/The Washington Post)
Featured Image: Stacy Zarin Goldberg, The Washington Post