A 5 minute read to understanding what’s in your wine glass - tannins and acidity. We talk about them, we taste them, but what are they exactly?
Tannins primarily come from the skins of the grapes. The longer the juice of the grape has skin contact during pressing and fermentation, the more pronounced its tannin structure. This is why tannins are mostly associated with red wines which have more skin contact than white wines.
Tannins act as a natural preservative adding to the mouthfeel, texture and structure of a wine. To taste ‘pure tannins’, to have an idea of their flavour, you can make a cup of very strong black tea or nibble on a fresh grape leaf or skin. Decanting your bottle of red wine before drinking it aerates the wine for smooth drinking, and softer tannins.
White wines typically showcase this characteristic best. Acidity creates the freshness we search for in white wines.
Pour a glass of white wine and take a sip, or two, and notice the tartness. Now, lick a slice of lemon and you will find the same sensation.
Having just tried the lemon, take another sip of white wine and you will notice it changes. More of the fruit characteristics come through.
Food and wine greatly impact upon one another, and like any great partnership, it is best when they are equals. When pairing food with high acidity, an unwooded white wine with lively acidity will soften the flavours and allow both the fruit characteristics of the wine and the flavours of the dish to shine.