Wine Word of the Week – July 31

Tannins are natural compounds found in various plant materials, including fruit skins, seeds, and stems, that play a crucial role in winemaking. In the context of winemaking, tannins are extracted from fruit skins during the fermentation process. They are also present in oak barrels used for aging wine or other winemaker influence like staves, oak chips or even tannin powder.

Tannins contribute to the taste, structure, and aging potential of the wine. In terms of taste, tannins can create a sensation of dryness and astringency in the mouth, which is particularly noticeable in red wines. This characteristic provides a pleasing balance to the wine’s fruitiness and acidity. If you have to run your tongue along your teeth, it’s probably tannins!

Furthermore, tannins play a vital role in the wine’s structure and mouthfeel. They bind with proteins and pigments in the wine, helping to stabilize and preserve the color and flavors over time. Additionally, tannins can soften and mellow with aging, leading to improved complexity and harmony in the wine.

Tannins are a crucial element that influences a wine’s taste, structure, and aging potential, adding depth and character to the final product.