What Are Tannins in Wine?

When red white wine is described as being dry, it’s the tannins that are the source of that experience. To understand that sense of dryness, try an experiment: Pop open a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah– 2 significantly tannic white wines– take a sip, and swish the wine around in your mouth like you’re auditioning for a Listerine commercial.

The concern that naturally follows is: If that’s such an undesirable sensation, then why do we want or require tannins in the first place?

The first response is that you should not be treating your red wine like its mouthwash. Swishing it around your mouth is not proper tasting technique, and if you were to do that at the dinner table, your loved ones would likely get up and leave. Proper tasting technique, which involves swirling, smelling, and slurping, is about as far from Listerine-ing your Cabernet as a rocking chair is from a rhinoceros.

Glasses of red wine

Tannins are an essential element in the structure of red wine, along with level of acidity. (Acidity, by the way, is the primary structure-giving component in white wine, which generally has no tannins.) It’s the component of red wine that frames the fruit and more tasty notes. Plus, if the red wine is planned to age, tannins allow it to do so.

Where Do Tannins in Wine Come From?
Due to the fact that of how they’re each made, red white wines possess tannins, while white wines generally do not. As the juice for red wine macerates with the skins, both color and tannins are drawn out.

It’s worth keeping in mind that there are tannins in oak, so barrel-fermented and -aged whites, like some Chardonnays, sometimes have subtly noticeable oak-derived tannins, especially if a high percentage of brand-new oak has actually been utilized.

At the table, tannins counterbalance fat and protein in food, which in turn soften up the perception of the tannins. This is why tannic red white wine with well-marbled steak is such a timeless pairing: They each become better alongside the besides they would have been on their own.

Not all tannins are the same, however; they develop and develop during the growing season. Grapes picked too early typically display tannins that have “woody” characteristics, meaning they are assertively astringent. Grapes chose at optimal ripeness tend to showcase tannins that have a slightly sweeter character, though it’s important to keep in mind that tannins are never ever “sweet” in the same sense as, say, the ripe fruit qualities of the white wine might be. Frequently, red wines that are suggested to age for an extended time period are not all that preferable to drink in their youth, since their tannins require to grow and soften.

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