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Tannin in Wine

by David on December 16, 2010

We talk about it all the time. What is it?

As a taster, it’s the thing that makes your mouth dry out and pucker. It also makes your teeth feel furry! As you notice, some wines are more tannic than others, but they’re usually red.

Why red wine? The primary source of tannin in wine is the grape skins. The skins are also the source of all of the color and most of the flavor and texture. So, red wine has to be fermented with the juice and skins together or it’s not red! White wines are rarely fermented on the skins.

Why do you care? Tannin gives red wine a nice, chewy texture, if it’s balanced, and it also helps the wine to age. Tannin drops out of the wine (literally) as it gets old, so a well-made wine that’s noticeably tannic in its youth will smooth out over time. Tannin is also thought to be “heart smart” (check with your physician). More on wine components

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