Understanding Tannins in Wine

There are many components that join together to create the unique flavors in a glass of wine. Tannins are one of the chemical compounds that are present in wine. These molecules can also be found in tea, dark chocolate, and pomegranates. Knowing what tannins are and how they influence the way wine tastes can help you better describe the wines you try and can also be beneficial for

What are Tannins?

The technical word for tannins is polyphenols. These are large molecules with several hydroxyl and phenol groups. They got their name from the fact that they can be used to tan animal hides. These compounds occur naturally in many different types of plants. In wine, they come from the seeds, grape skins, and sometimes from the oak barrels used for aging.

Tasting for Tannins

Polyphenols impart bitterness and astringency to wines while creating complex flavors. They are associated with dryness in the front of the mouth and are tasted most strongly in the center of the tongue. It may be harder to detect tannins if the wine has more residual sugar, although in many cases the polyphenols will be easier to detect than the sweetness.

As high-tannin (also called “tannic”) wines age, the polyphenols begin to polymerize. This means that they bind with one another and create even larger molecules. Wines that may be more astringent in their youth become smoother as they age.

Tannic Wines

Tannins are present to some degree in all red wines. This is a result of how these wines are made. In fact, the winemaking process results in some polyphenols in even white wines, although this is to a lesser degree. The grape varietal can impact the tannin content of wine and this is also dependent on the winemaking process.

Some red wines that are known for high tannin levels include:

Tannins and Wine Pairing

Although some wine drinkers love tannins, many people find them a bit bold, especially in younger wines. However, one way that tannic wines can really shine is when paired with rich, fatty foods. Tannins beautifully complement red meat and other decadent dishes. That being said, it is usually best to avoid overly bitter sauces. Creamy or buttery sauces are usually a better accompaniment. As with anything wine-related, this can vary based on your preferences, so it can also be fun to experiment and see what you like best.

Find Your Favorite Wine

No matter what type of wine you prefer, we can help you find your new favorite. We take your preferences into account during wine tastings and can create a flight based on your palate. We are also happy to discuss all of the details about the wines you try, including how they are made, their characteristics, and our pairing recommendations. It is our goal to create a welcoming environment where you can enjoy our wines no matter what level of tasting experience you have.

Visit us today at either of our two tasting rooms.