January 4, 2024 by
Maytte Rivera

Tannins are astringent substances known as phenolic compounds that can be found in many plants, grape skins, seeds, stems and oak barrels. The word is derived from “tanning”, an old process of curing leather with plant extracts.  Plants developed tannins to prevent animals from eating their leaves and fruit before they fully ripen.  This compound is extracted during wine fermentation and maceration with the grape skins and can be identified as drying sensation in the palate.  The term applies mostly to red wines since white wines are not usually fermented with the skins. Tannins add texture, structure, and balance to a wine, as well as ageing potential since they act as a natural preservative, and they mellow as the wine ages.

Grape varieties have different tannin content. Pinot Noir and Gamay have low tannin content, while Monastrell, Nebbiolo and Petit Syrah have plenty of tannins.  An important point to take into consideration if you do not like too much astringency in red wines, or if you actually enjoy it!

Author: Maytte Rivera

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