what do people mean when they talk about tannins in wine?
Clubs of America | Feb 27, 2023
If you are a wine drinker, you have probably heard the term “tannins” before. Do you ever wonder what do people mean when they talk about tannins in wine? Tannins are a component found in wine that can greatly affect the taste and texture of the wine. But where do these tannins come from and how do they affect the taste of the wine?
Tannins are a type of polyphenol, which is found in many plants, including grapes. They are chemical compounds that are responsible for the bitterness, astringency, and mouth-drying sensations in wine. Tannins are found in the skin, seeds, and stems of grapes and are extracted during the winemaking process.
As mentioned earlier, tannins are extracted from the skin, seeds, and stems of grapes during the winemaking process. Because red wines are made by fermenting the juice of the grapes with the skin, seeds, and stems still intact, they typically have higher levels of tannins. During this process, the tannins are extracted from the grape solids and transferred into the wine. White wines are typically made by pressing the juice of the grapes and then fermenting it without the skins, seeds, and stems, resulting in lower levels of tannins.
Tannins can greatly affect the taste and texture of wine. Often associated with red wine, the tannins are responsible for the bitterness and astringency. Tannins give red wine its structure and backbone, and they are what allow red wines to age and develop over time. As red wines age, the tannins soften, which can make the wine taste smoother and more complex.
Tannins can also affect the mouthfeel of wine. Tannins can make wine feel dry and rough in the mouth, similar to the feeling of drinking black tea. This sensation is often described as “astringent.” Some people enjoy this sensation, while others find it unpleasant.
Tannins are an important component of wine because they can greatly affect the taste, texture, and aging potential. Understanding tannins can help you choose a wine that you will enjoy. If you enjoy the dry and tannic sensation in your mouth, you might prefer a wine with higher tannins. Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are examples of wines with high tannins. If you prefer a smoother and more approachable wine, you might opt for a wine with lower tannins. Pinot Noir and Merlot are examples of wines with lower tannins.
In addition to affecting the taste of wine, tannins can also be an indicator of the wine’s quality and aging potential. Wines with high tannins often have the potential to age and develop in the bottle over time, becoming more complex and nuanced. This is why some people choose to age red wines in their cellars for years before drinking them.
Understanding tannins can help you choose a wine that you will enjoy and appreciate. Tannins are a critical element of wine, whether you prefer a dry and tannic wine or a smooth and approachable one. Now you’ll know exactly what people mean when they talk about the tannins in wine.