Softening Tannin in Red Wine

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Many red wines get better with age. One of the main reasons why is aging allows the tannin (dry, puckery sensation on the gums) to soften. However, there’s a very important issue regarding the wines’ fruit (sweetness). One has to make sure that there is enough fruit in the wine that will outlive the tannin. If not, the fruit could completely disappear before the tannin softens sufficiently enough to make the wine easily consumable. If that happens, then sipping that wine will be like sucking on a piece of shoe leather, all dry, austere and mean. So the next time you consider aging a red to soften its tannin, look very closely at its fruit (sweetness) to make sure there’s enough to counterbalance softening tannin.


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