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How Do You Know If A Wine Has Tannin

People who are relatively new to wine often ask the question how do you know if a wine has tannin? It is a fair question, as it is possible that until your wine tasting experiences take you to wines made primarily from Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo, Syrah based grapes from say, Italy, France, Spain and the USA you may not have noticed the taste of the tannins.

Mass produced wines, which certainly have a place in the wine drinker’s life, are often blended to remove the taste created by tannin. The large producers are trying to make a wine which can be easily served in bistros’ and very busy restaurants and wine bars. In these environments it is essential that the impact of high tannin is reduced.

You may imagine where time is of the essence the wine has to be opened and served in seconds or minutes. There is no time to leisurely open the wine and allow the natural tannin (part of the making process) to evolve; no, the restaurateur has to open and pour immediately into the glass. A quick swill and the tannin must be gone. It is why I am suggesting that you may not have encountered many types of tannin on your experiences to date.

By the way, before we leave that thought, you could take your own WineWeaver® with you to the restaurant in the tote we have specifically designed for this purpose. Our handy Travel Tote is the perfect accessory to a WineWeaver® wine aerator

As we, in our role of the wine taster, get ever more bold and experimental it is natural to move in to the domain of the tannin.

So how do you know if a wine has tannin?

I would describe the taste of tannins in wine more as a sensation than a taste. It gives a sensation of dryness in the mouth and bitterness in both the front of the mouth and the side of the tongue. The sensation of dryness will stay with you after you have swallowed the wine.

As an aside, the taste of tannin in wine is not to be confused with the term ‘dry wine’ which refers to sugar levels. Tannins are important as they are part of the natural wine making process, primarily for red wines but there are tannins in white wine too.

When we think about what flavour tannin gives to wine, we are thinking of the acidity and bitterness and with this comes the terminology of the ‘complexity of wine’. On our journey with wine and wine tasting, you will probably find you will naturally graduate to more complex wines over time.

For the moment, it is good enough to know that high tannin wines bring complexity with them. It is also essential to know that having identified that your wine has tannins you can just use your WineWeaver® aerator to remove and soften them. You should be left with an instantly improved wine after using WineWeaver® and yet retain all the complexities the wine has to offer.

Featured image courtesy of wikipedia

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