A little tannin talk.
Updated: Jan 24, 2021
Most of us are familiar with tannins in wine, but what are they exactly?
The overwhelming dryness all around your mouth and tongue. It’s “not a taste, it’s a tactile sensation.” When you think of tannin, don’t think bitter…think “astringent". Tannins come from the pit, skin, and stem of the grape that’s used to make the wine you’re sipping on. Without getting too science teacher-y, tannins are naturally occurring compounds that are found in natural foods, wood, and leaves. Here are some other familiar foods with tannins: barley, apples, apricots, tea leaves, nuts with skins, and basil and cranberries!
Tannins are prominent in red wine, but some whites can be tannic too! Let me explain why.
Red wines typically have a higher tannin level because red wines typically ferment with their skins. If you’re drinking a super tannic red wine like Syrah, Nebbiolo, or a Cabernet Sauvignon; it’s because the wine spent a lot of time fermenting with their skins. Another contributor is the oak/wood barrels, that reds typically age in.With that being said, some whites are aged in oak/wood barrels, which would produce a tannic white.
Personally, I love a tannic wine. I especially love how special is to pair tannic wine with the right dish. Think of tea and that astringent taste (the tannins). Then add your milk and it’s perfectly balanced (the creamy/fatty dish). Science talk again…tannin macromolecules cut through protein which helps more subtle flavors of the wine and food to emerge.
Here is a list of some recommended pairings for you to make at home!
· An oaky Californian Chardonnay and a light lemon pasta
· Nebbiolo with decadent, bougie take on Mac & Cheese
· Napa Valley Cabernet with California Chicken
· Sangiovese and a well-marbled steak
I’m working on furthering my knowledge, and I will always share helpful links! This is a video from SommTv, which highlights tannins from a Sommeliers point of view. Talk on maceration, white wines with skin exposure, and what it’s like to feel and not taste. https://youtu.be/2YapMa9Olsw
Thanks for reading, until next time!
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