Wine 101: What is Wine?

4. Tannins
Tannins come from the seeds and skins of grapes -- and stems, too if they’re added while the wine is still fermenting—as well as from wooden barrels that can be used to age wines. The tannin in wines acts as a preservative and, along with acidity, is referred to as the structure of a wine. Tannins make your mouth pucker, your gums feel fuzzy, and your mouth feel dry.

You can probably see already that having the right balance between drying tannins and mouthwatering acids is pretty important. Tannins can also be added to wines in powder form. Of course, some wines display a high level of tannins—usually red wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Nebbiolo as well as the red wines from Bordeaux and red wines from Tuscany, Italy, known Super Tuscans.

Next: Additives »

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