Ruby vs. Garnet

At our weekly tasting group this week I brought up a discussion about Ruby vs. Garnet.  I have a background as a lighting designer and visual artist and had always viewed Ruby as the lighter in hue color and Garnet being the darker in hue.  My group and the grid seems to differ from my understanding.  Garnet is lighter and moves darker to ruby then to purple according to the grid.  I'm just trying to reconcile my understanding.  Any thoughts or insight?  Or should I just shift my paradigm to fit with the grid?

  • Garnet, at least according to every MS I've ever heard talk about it, is an orange-ish color, most often expressed at the very rim of a wine. 

    Wines that frequently have garnet as part of their color in the glass would include, but are not limited to

    Young 100% Grenache from the Rhone/Australia (see: Rayas, Yangarra, 100% grenache cuvees from d'Arrenberg) 

    Young Nebbiolo (Barbaresco > Barolo) 

    Wines with large % of stem inclusion, particularly on thin skin varieties (see: Dujac, whole cluster pinot in general - Burlotto, if you want whole cluster + Nebbiolo) 

    Middle-maturity examples of many red-colored varieties (i.e. mid-late 90s Burgundy, middle 90s Sangiovese, late 90s Chateauneuf) and very mature dark-skinned varieties (middle 80s Bordeaux/Rioja/N. Rhone Syrah, Cali Cabernet) - note, in very mature wines (pre-1980), garnet will often be the interim color between ruby/dark ruby in the core out to tawny/brown at the very exterior meniscus

    Wines that almost certainly will never include garnet as a color

    Young Argentine Malbec

    Young Bordeaux (left bank, especially) 

    Young California anything (excepting heavy whole cluster Pinot producers and one offs examples like Agela Osborne's A Tribute to Grace Grenache) 

    Young Aussie Shiraz

    Modernist Rioja 

    Loire Valley Cabernet Franc (excepting the whole cluster situation) 

    Almost anything made out of a Bordeaux variety, especially from the new world

    I'm sure that doesn't cover all of it, but it's a pretty good set of guidelines. 

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