If the world of wine is unfamiliar territory to you, there are a lot of terms and terminologies you probably are not associated with, yet. If one of them is “tannins”, we are bound to tell you to look no further.
Have a read below!
What are Tannins?
One of the most inscrutable concepts in this chardonnay-circus would be “tannins”, for there is no bounded definition for the same. Tannins are essentially what provides a particular taste attribute to any wine, and is essentially the same substance that makes one feel dry in the mouth whilst tasting wine. Read more about dry wine here and what makes it dry in the first place.
Where does the word tannin originate from? The word “tannin”, evidently, originates from the process of curing leather using plant extracts- also known as tanning.
What is made up of tannin? Tannins, biochemically, are a conglomeration of various organic compounds, also known as polyphenols. Polyphenols are prevalent in grape skins predominantly, but may also be present in grape seeds. Ideally, the longer we soak the grapes, the higher the tannin secretion and release.
What is the taste of tannins? The climate tends to have a significant role in modulating the amount of tannin released by the grapes. Warm climates tend to produce a rather abrasive tannin quality, whereas smoother tannins are observed in cooler climates. Consequently, higher tannins tend to produce a bitter or “astringent” after-taste!
Why is tannin even used? From an evolutionary standpoint, tannins were secreted by plants in order to prevent animals, specifically herbivores, from feeding on them. It is to make the plant less desirable to its consumer, thereby maintaining a stable gene pool in the long run by ensuring survival. Albeit the aspect of tannins is rather despicable news for the other animals, it proves to be a hidden gem for the aficionados!
Should You Be Worried About Tannins?
From the very inception of civilization, humans have always tried to discern what is good for them and what would be detrimental, and we will keep those instincts alive when we try to analyze whether tannins are beneficial at all.
Here’s why tannins could prove to be a boon or a bane.
Cons about Tannins
Tannins are notorious for causing headaches, especially exaggerated in ones who suffer from sinusitis or migraine-related problems. For them, even the very idea of planning to consume a glass of red wine could prove to be a case of careless cataclysm!
We highly recommend such individuals to keep off the hook of the red wine cabinet and instead, relish on white wine, or Rosé for that matter. While we want your experience with wine to be mind-boggling, we quite don’t literally mean it!
Pros about Tannins
The same antioxidants that are analogous to compounds like glutathione, which are famous (infamous in some cases), to decelerate the process of aging. The fact can be correlated with the idea that wine containing a higher content of tannin itself takes an exponentially longer time to age than the ones deprived of it. Read more about the benefits of glutathione here.
Not only do tannins help in lowering the rate at which aging happens, but also helps with other live-saving processes like building up immunity. The immune system has been shown to have a moderate boost rate that is relatively proportional to the number of tannins present in a section of regular consumers of red wine. Although we believe that such inferences may be fairly ambitious, it is unwise to rule out such observations entirely.
Yet another marked transformation that tannins are noticed to produce is the general lowering of blood pressure. It is seen that consumers of tannin-producing substances (black tea, cinnamon) in general and wine in specific have shown significantly fewer cases on BP alterations or increments.
This, in no way, implies that we are providing you a green signal to go guns blazing (rather, glass blazing) on the bottle of sauvignon you just purchased. On the contrary, we humbly urge you to see over-consumption of red wine as a major red flag, for whatever little antioxidant roles the wine tends to play, in no way is it more significant than the sluggishness and sloth it brings.
Drink, but drink responsibly!
How Do Tannins Affect Wine?
Here’s how tannins moderate the attributes of the wine we consume.
As a general rule of thumb, the drier your mouth gets whilst tasting the wine, the higher tannins it contains. This is why you tend to have a dry mouth (or seemingly dry) after drinking wines with high amounts of tannins. In terms of texture, tannins tend to leave a rather “velvet-like” aftertaste in one’s mouth, which is also referred to as “astringent”. Everyone likes a smooth and rich wine right?
Lastly, it is seen that wines with higher tannin content tend to slow the aging of the wine. So if you want to ensure a fast-aging process, wines without tannins are your best bet! Read what supplies you need to make homemade wine here if you’re interested!
Will You Try Some Wines with Tannins Now?
For the appropriate audience, tannins can prove to be either the elixir of life or the doom of destruction. But that will not stop us from quenching our thirst for curiosity, will it?
If you’re still reading with Wine On My Time be sure to check out the different types of red wines here. Let us know what you favorite wines are below! One of our favorites is actually the Auslese Riesling, read more about it here with our uncorked series!