Tannin is a natural substance belonging to the group of polyphenols, in turn substances that have an antioxidant power.
In other words, tannins are among the substances that make us say that drinking wine is good for health.
The characteristic of tannins is that of causing a slight astringency in the mouth.
They leave a feeling (more or less pleasant) of dry mouth and give the wine a vaguely bitter note.
Here are the top 6 things to know when it comes to tannin.
1) Tannins are found in the skins, stalks and grape seeds. This is why they are mainly found in red wines. In red winemaking, in fact, the grapes are often pressed with part of the stalks and then the must is left for a few days in contact with the skins.
2) Some vines are able to release many more tannins to wine than others. Just as some grapes have a higher coloring power than others, in the same way some vines carry with them a very high charge of tannins. Others, however, never create too tannic wines.
3) In young wines tannins can be a little annoying. Generally they need time to harmonize with the wine and at least initially they can be too evident and annoying. The sommeliers describe these tannins with the term “green” and generally recommend tasting the wine a few months later.
4) It has been said that tannins are typical only of red wines, since white grapes contain less of them and that during the vinification they are immediately separated from the must.
There are however exceptions.
It happens in fact that some producers reserve a special treatment for their white wines, providing for a certain period of maceration on the skins.
Generally this technique allows to obtain more structured wines, with very particular notes, but also makes them full of tannins.
5) In addition to these particular prolonged macerations there is another reason that can cause the presence of tannins in white wines.
In fact, the source of tannins is also the wood of the barrels and barriques which today are often used also to vinify or refine white wines. They are slightly different tannins from those released by peels, stalks and pips but the effect in the mouth is completely similar: slight astringency, dry mouth and a slight bitter taste.
6) Tannins are the reason why there is nothing better than a nice glass of Sangiovese next to a Florentine steak. In fact, grilled meat, when prepared properly, imprisons all the juices inside, making every mouthful succulent. The tannins have the effect of drying the mouth and preparing it for the next bite.