How many times have you heard of tannins ? If you are a red wine lover, you must know them. They are the ones that give you a slightly rough sensation in your mouth and color your teeth when you taste a young wine.
What are Tannins?
These are molecules present in most plants (tree bark, tea leaves, fruits, etc.). In grapes they are present in the skin, in the seeds and in the petiole. The tannins of the peel are the softest, those of the grape seeds and stalks the hardest. Tannins in wine can also come from aging in oak barrels.
Why does red wine contain tannins?
To give the red wine colour, aroma and structure, the grape must is left to macerate with the solid parts (peel and grape seeds) containing the tannins, by sorting to eliminate the bad tannins (the stem). This is not the case with white wines, which is why they contain little or no tannin. The good tannins, essential for red wines, give structure and balance. They therefore play a key role in the development of the wine and its aging potential.
A wine will be more or less tannic depending on the grape varieties used for its blending and the duration of the maceration. Cabernet sauvignon, Malbec or even Syrah are grape varieties known for producing tannic wines.
How to taste a tannic wine
To identify tannins it is necessary to consider both their quantity and their quality .
The quantity can be determined during the tasting, but also from the information presented on the bottle: grape variety, aging in oak barrels... It determines the power of these tannins. The drier the mouth, the more powerful they are. We therefore contrast the soft tannins with the hard tannins.
The quality aims more at qualifying the tannins : fine, elegant, silky or sweet (the tannins are present, but not aggressive, the wine is well balanced). Depending on how long they persist in the mouth, we speak of persistence. We therefore contrast the fine tannins (which disappear quickly) with the fatty tannins (which remain in the mouth).