Wine has many technicalities that are crucial if you really want to understand this complex drink. Tannins, for example, are one such concept that’s essential to winemaking but might be little known to the general public. In this article, we’ll delve deeper into tannins and wine, their significance, and what you need to know about them.
What Are Tannins?
Tannins are organic compounds that come from grape skins, seeds, and stems. They are also present in oak barrels used for aging wines.
Notably, tannins are responsible for the astringency, bitterness, and complexity in wines. They are released when red wines are fermented with the grapes’ skins. White wines have lower tannin levels because they are usually fermented without skin contact.
How Do Tannins Taste?
Tannins create a dry, slightly bitter sensation in the mouth. For example, when you drink red wine with tannic structure, it will often feel more robust, intense, and complex than a white or rosé wine. Tannins are perceived particularly in the front and back of the tongue.
How Do You Pair Tannic Wines?
Tannins work best with foods that have lots of fat. This is because the fat softens the tannins, giving the wine a smoother finish. Foods containing proteins such as prime cuts of steak, strong cheeses, red meat roasts, and game dishes will make an excellent match with tannic wines. A full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon or a tannic Tempranillo will complement such dishes perfectly.
To learn more about this topic, read our previous blog post “Why Are Wine and Cheese Such a Good Match?”
How Do You Control Tannin Levels in Wine?
Winemakers use various strategies to manage tannin levels in wine. They can vary the duration of maceration, change the type of yeast used in fermentation, or adjust the temperature of fermentation. Aging wine in oak barrels can also add tannins, flavors, and aromas to the wine.
Wrapping It Up
In summary, tannins are a crucial component of wine that give the beverage its astringency, complexity, and robustness. They can also offer numerous health benefits to the consumer. Understanding tannins will allow you to have a more profound appreciation of wine and enable you to make better pairing choices. When next you take a sip of a red wine, think beyond the taste, and savor the tannins!
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