Wine Term of the Week – Tannins

TanninsOne of my good friends chastised me for calling this series “Wine Term of the Week” while not offering up a term weekly as promised. She suggested that I call it “Wine Term of the Fortnight”. I actually had to look that up since it’s not a term widely used in the U.S. (It literally means 2 weeks by the way). Now that I know that people are actually reading I promise to be more cognizant of how long a week is 😉

This week I’m going to explain ‘Tannins’. It is a complex term but to simplify it at the most basic level, tannins are what causes the ‘dry’ sensation in wine. If it is too tannic, a wine may cause your mouth to pucker. On the flip side, if there is not enough the wine may taste more like plain grape juice or fruit punch.

Tannins are polyphenolic compounds that are extracted from the skins and seeds of grapes. If you bite into a grape seed you will know (at an extreme level) what tannins taste like.

Tannins are also important in the preservation of red wine. The tannin is what allows certain reds to develop flavor over the course of aging.

Thanks for stopping by!

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