What Are Tannins in Wine?
In wine, tannin is a textural element that makes wine taste dry.
Tannin is a naturally occurring polyphenol found in plants, seeds, bark, wood, leaves and fruit skins. About 50% of the dry weight of plant leaves are tannins. As a characteristic of wine, tannin adds both bitterness and astringency as well as complexity. Wine tannins are most commonly found in red wine, although white wines have tannin from being aged in wooden barrels.
What Does Tannin Taste Like?
Tannin tastes dry and astringent and you can feel it specifically on the middle of your tongue and the front part of your mouth. Unsweetened black tea is a great example of nearly pure tannin dissolved in water.
Where do Wine Tannins Come From?
Tannins in wine come from two possible places: wine grapes and wood.
What Are Grape Tannins?
Grape tannin comes from the skins, seeds and stems of a wine grape. For this reason, red wines tend to have higher tannins than white wines because the extended contact of the grapes to the juice gives the tannin time to dissolve in the alcohol and water in the wine.
Some types of wine have higher tannins than others. The Nebbiolo grape used in Italian Barolo, is a high grape tannin wine.
What are Wood Tannins?
Wood tannins dissolve into wine through contact. Most commonly this happens when wine is stored in wooden barrels. Oak barrels are the most popular choice because of the flavors they add to wine such as vanillin.
Tannin powders, oak chips and oak staves are growing in popularity because they are more affordable. It is hard to say which is better since an oak barrel can be used in winemaking for up to 70 years.
Which wines are high vs low in tannin?
We picked out a few examples to help illustrate wine tannins. It’s helpful to remember that winemaking style greatly affects how much tannin is in a wine. In general, high production wines are deliberately created to have ’rounder’ feeling tannins.
High Tannin Wines
NebbioloCabernet SauvignonTempranilloMontepulcianoPetit VerdotPetite Sirah
Low Tannin Wines
Are Wine Tannins Good or Bad? Read More
Via Mariano Pallottini, José Eduardo