Tannin in Red Wine

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You know that bitter, puckering, drawing sensation one gets on the gums when drinking red wine? That’s tannin from the skins of red grapes used in its production. In many red wines, especially bigger ones like Bordeaux, Cabernet, Syrah/Shiraz, Italian reds, etc., it’s an essential part of their structure. These often need bottle aging to soften the attack of the tannins making them riper and the wine easier drinking. Tannin is also the main reason that reds with firmer tannins mesh so well with rarer, red meats. The protein in the blood of the meat marries beautifully with that in the tannin providing an “umami” (succulentness) affect. Just keep in mind that everyone’s threshold or sensitivity to tannin differs.

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