You know that puckering sensation you get when you drink an over-steeped mug of black tea? How about that puckering sensation you get when you drink a young Cabernet? Both sensations come from the same source: tannins.
Tannins are a family of natural organic compounds that are found in a number of foods and non-foods, including grapes, teas, nuts, berries, wood, persimmons, pomegranates, chocolate, legumes and many herbs.
Tannins are an excellent antioxidant and natural preservative and are vital for red wine character and quality.
My friend and fellow wine consultant Kimberly Houston wrote a wonderful article on tannins in her Wine and Walnuts blog. Here’s just one great point Kimberly makes in her article: “Oh, and one reason that big, bold Cabernet Sauvignon goes so well with steak? The proteins and fats in the meat tame the tannin in the wine and the tannin in the wine helps cleanse your palate of the fats and oils in the rich meat. (Personally, I think there’s way more to that sublime match than the science, but there ya go.)”
I encourage you to read Kimberly’s article to learn more about tannins. And her article is just the start. Wine experts spend years studying tannins.
If you have additional thoughts about tannins that you would like to share with us, please do so here.