What Are Tannins?

So, let’s talk about tannins. This can often be really confusing, because you have acidity in wine and it makes your mouth water and you have tannins that dry your mouth out.

Now typically you only find tannins in red wine and there’s a reason for that. It’s because tannins are found in the grape skins. Have you ever bitten into a plum and you find that as you are chewing it the flesh is really juicy and sweet and there is lots of tangy bright acidity. As you start chewing on the skin you start to get this stringent, drying texture. That’s the tannins.

Same thing is found in grape skin. As you are making red wine you need to use those skins otherwise you would end up with a white wine. If you just pressed the juice out of the grapes it is white. So they soak the skins with the juice and that’s pulling out, not just this beautiful intense color, but also the tannins.

Some grapes have more tannins than others, but a wine, as it’s finished, will give you a little bit of that drying effect. You can feel it on your lips, your gums, and the top of your mouth as you are drinking the wine. This gives you that really beautiful, velvety texture. 

Learn Wine featuring Master Sommelier Emily Wines

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