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Many wine drinkers will be attracted to a certain wine, grape, or region, but have a hard time explaining why. You’ll use certain words as “intense,” “bold,” “sweet,” or “earthy.” These are common characteristics that most people can identify. However, tannins are often used as descriptors, but many people have no idea what they are and how they affect wine’s taste. 

Does Not Determine Quality of Wine

The first thing to know about tannins is they don’t represent how good or bad a wine tastes. Choosing high or low tannin levels in wine is simply a preference. Each of us have our own unique taste buds, which is why you might love a particular wine that your friend absolutely hates. Wine is like art. It’s all subjective!

The Taste and Texture

So, what is a tannin exactly? Tannins are macromolecules made of phenol. These appear in most of the earth that makes the wine: seeds, stems, skins, and of course grapes. At its most basic level, the more tannins, the more dry, bitter, and acetic the wine tastes. If you’ve ever bitten into a piece of dark chocolate, that sharp bitterness is the same one that you would find in a wine rich with tannins. The furriness on your tongue after tasting a wine is the tannins at work. Mostly, red wines will include tannins. However, when white wines have the opportunity sit and age in wooden barrels, where tannins are also found, you can detect the same dryness in those as well.

Adjusting Tannin Level

If you know that a dry wine doesn’t really fit your fancy, decanting the wine can help lower the tannin richness. When you allow the wine to aerate or breathe, the oxygen will help to tone the tannin level and temper the bitterness. Allowing the wine to age can also soften the taste. Remember that knowing your own taste buds is the first step to choosing what tannin level you’d prefer in your wine. Then, you can swing by the best wine shop in Buford, GA, and explore with your new tannin knowledge! Enjoy!


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