This is a detailed and easy to comprehend guide on Tannins, one of the key traits used to characterize wines.
Let’s get started.
What is Tannins?
Tannins are a class of astringent, polyphenolic biomolecules that bind to and precipitate proteins and various other organic compounds.
They are widely distributed in plant tissues.
They are found in foods such as green tea, dark chocolate, walnut skins, grape skins, beer, fruit juices, etc.
Tannins give these beverages their characteristic taste and mouthfeel. Tannins are mainly used for their preservation properties.
Tannins and Wine
Tannins are one of the most important aspects of wine. They contribute to the astringency, body, and age-ability of a wine. Tannins are found in the skins and seeds of wine grapes. The longer a grape skin is in contact with the juice during fermentation, the more tannins will be extracted from it.
Why are tannins important in wine?
A few reasons –
- Tannins add structure and stability to a wine, helping it to age gracefully. They can also make a wine taste more full-bodied and complex.
- Tannins help in stabilize the wine and protect it against oxidation.
- Tannins are also considered to be an important source of wine’s health benefits too.
However, too much tannin can make a wine taste bitter and harsh. This is one of the key aspects which goes against the presence of tannins in a wine.
The ideal amount of tannin depends on personal preference. Some people enjoy the feeling of astringency that tannins provide. Others find it unpleasant.
If you’re not sure whether you like wines with high levels of tannin, start by trying aged wines, which tend to have less tannin than younger wines.
As wines age, their tannins mellow and become more integrated into the overall flavor profile.
Here is a quick video explaining Tannins –
Wine Classification Based on Tannins
Wines can be classified based on tannins.
One simple classification is Low, Medium, and High.
There is no hard and fast rule to define what is considered as low and what medium. These classifications are based on wine experts.
1. Wines with Low Tannins
If you are just starting with wines or do not prefer tannins (the taste), then there would be a great choice.
As already mentioned, the younger versions of these wines would have more tannins than the aged ones.
Some examples of low tannins wine are –
- Pinot Noir
Read our detailed article Red Wine With Low Tannins to know more>
Wine with Medium Tannins
If you are fine with astringent wines and not too much too, these would be a great choice –
Some examples of medium tannins wine are –
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Nero D’avola
Wine with High Tannins
High tannin wines taste astringent and dry. The tannins make the wine taste more bitter than usual. These wines provide a gripping sensation at the front of the mouth.
If you love such a taste, then here are some high tannins wine for you to explore –
- Petit Verdot
Benefits of Tannins in Wine
Here are some of the key benefits of tannins in a wine –
Procyanidins are a type of flavonoid. Flavonoids are a class of phytonutrients (plant chemicals) that act as antioxidants in the body.
Procyanidins are found in foods like apples, cocoa, and grapes.
Procyanidins have been shown to have a number of health benefits, including, Improving heart health, reducing inflammation, and improving well to bad cholesterol levels.
Ellagitannins are a type of polyphenol with antioxidant properties.
They are found in various plants, including pomegranates, strawberries, and walnuts.
In research studies, Ellagitannins have been linked to several health benefits, such as reduced inflammation, improved blood sugar control, and lower risk of heart disease and cancer.
In the context of wines, they are found in oak barrels.
Tannins in Red vs. White Wine
Tannins give red wine its astringent taste and can make your mouth feel dry. They also contribute to the red wine’s aging potential.
White wines generally have lower levels of tannins than red wines, but they do have tannins in them.
Do all Wines Have Tannins
Yes, all wines have tannins in them, but the proportion may vary significantly. While all wines contain tannins, the amount of tannin varies depending on the grape variety, winemaking method, and wine style.
Tannins are present in all wines, just in different proportions. It is very important to understand your own taste to identify the best wine for yourself.
I hope this quick guide on Tannins helped you understand this aspect of wine.
Do share this with your friends and family who love wine!