Tannins: What are they?

If you've been enjoying wine for a bit, one word you've most certainly heard, especially when people are discussing red wine, is tannin.

So what is tannin exactly?

Tannin is actually a natural substance found on plants, or specifically related to wine, the grapes' skins, stems, and seeds. Since red wine is fermented with all of the stems, pips (seeds) and skins, red wine becomes tannic. Red wine can also get its tannins from being aged in barrels, particularly oak barrels.   

How would you describe tannin in a wine?

It will be very beneficial for you to know whether or not you enjoy tannic wines or not. If you're at a store or ordering wine from a restaurant menu, it'll help whoever is giving the recommendation know which route to go as some grapes are known to be more tannic than others. So how would you describe tannins in wine? Tannin is what provides that sense of bitterness or astringency in red wines. Have you ever had a sip of red wine and your mouth feels dry after? That drying feeling is actually tannin!

If you'd like to find out if you enjoy tannic reds, I'd give a bigger and bolder red a try such as cabernet sauvignon or bordeaux. If you do enjoy tannic reds, I'd be sure to pair them with a hearty meal such as steak or beef stew!