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Truth About Wine Tannins | The Wine Virgin
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Truth About Wine Tannins

March 6, 2008

Are wine tannins responsible for the puckard sensation you get from drinking really strong red wine? - Neve in St. George, UT

Wine tannins are a natural chemical that can be found in the stems and leaves of some fruits and yes, in particular some red wine grapes. Having a lot of tannins in wine can make it pretty difficult to drink. For this reason, some wines are typically held in a wine cellar until they mature unless you enjoy robbing the cradle of course.

During the aging process, the tannins break down and as a result of this process the flavor evolves from harsh to mellow and complex. This does not happen with all wines however. If a wine is merely tannic without a taste of fruit in its youth, it isn’t likely to become a thing of beauty with age. Balance is the key.

Modern wine makers do their best to minimize as much as possible the inclusion of tannins from the seeds by carefully crushing the grapes when extracting the juice. Pressing the grapes further results in press wine which is more tannic and is usually kept separately.

Also, it is possible that tannins in wine can occur from maturing it in oak or other types of wood casks that have a high tannin content. Yet tannins are not completely bad due to the protective function they yield by keeping oxidation from happening as a wine ages.

Since it’s obvious that you have a keen desire to “rob the cradle,” as winos such as myself say of drinking a young wine before its ready, this is the one case in which decanting wine and allowing it to aerate may help in softening the rough edges. Cheers!!

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