A tannin is a polyphenol. That’s basically a chemical with lots of phenol groups attached. Don’t worry about it. They occur in grape seeds, skins and stems and get into the grape juice when the grape is crushed and soaking. It can also be added when the wine is soaking in a wooden barrel.
Generally tannins are found in red wine, though occasionally whites as well. That’s all nice and dandy now that we know what it is, but what does it do? How do we recognise it and why does it matter?
A tannin in wine is a natural chemical protector for the wine, which is why winemakers like it. It is said to create a ‘body’ for the wine so that helps as well. If you drink a wine with tannin’s it gives that feeling of drying in the mouth after a sip. If it’s high in tannins then your mouth feels very dry, low in tannins won’t make it feel too dry at all.
There we have it! So what does it mean for some actual wines? Well a couple of examples for high tannin wine would be Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz. And low tannin reds would be Pinot Noir and Tempranillo.
Tomorrow we have our first white wine! Till then!