Remember last week when I mentioned tannins? Well, I decided to research more about why they’re so important to wine, but this time, I hit the books. & let me start off by saying, tannins are pretty dang important! Before I explain why though, I should probably give you my best definition of what they are. & before I do that, I should probably let you know that if you want to know about wine, you need to keep reading.
Tannins are naturally occurring organic substances (called polyphenols) found in plants, seeds, bark, and fruit skins. Some more common foods with natural tannins include coffee, dark chocolate, and walnut skins… Recognize some similar tastes there? Well, that’s because they factor into why these foods (& more specifically, wine) can taste bitter or astringent. In the case of wine, tannins are found in the grape seeds & skins, as well as the barrels they may be oaked in.
So, they’re naturally occurring, but why do we need them present in the wine we drink? The quick answer is tannins help stabilize wine & prevent oxidation during the wine-making process—Keeping the different tasting notes you may sense to remain fresh & enhanced. Another fun fact about the winemaking process is that younger wine has higher tannin than that of an aged wine, the content drops as time goes by. The more you learn, right?
Tannins are actually a really important factor to the tasting process, so it’s a good thing to learn if you’re new to wine. & if you still don’t think you understand what they are, first of all, don’t feel discouraged, they’re subtle for a reason! Also, here’s a tip to help you out: The next time you’re drinking wine, try to notice if you feel a gritty or brittle sensation after you swallow. Do your lips stick to your teeth? Is your tongue dryer? Boom, you’ve found your tannins (Why? Bonus chemistry fact: The tannic acid creates proteins that bind to your saliva, causing a dry sensation in your mouth). As you start to look for it, it becomes easier to find… Like I said last time, keep practicing! & don’t forget to just have FUN with it!
Bailey Morris, Marketing/ Gift Shop
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