Tannin or (tannic acid) plays an important part in the red wine making process. It is found in the skins, stems, and seeds of grapes.
The process of making red wine involves keeping the grape skins in contact with the fermenting juice thereby giving much greater depth of color and flavor to the finished product.
It is hard to describe the exact taste of tannin. It can be described more accurately as a sensation that can be felt in the middle of the tongue, roof of the mouth and a film covering your teeth and gums.
This sensation is one of a drying-astringent feeling. It is what creates that dry feeling in your mouth when you drink a good dry wine.
Many people describe the taste as being similar to the taste of a strong, unsweetened tea.
Some serious red wine connoisseurs will judge the quality of their wines on the levels or heaviness of the tannins especially as a young wine. A higher amount can allow a longer aging process to occur and ultimately a more valuable wine. When balanced with fruit flavors, it can add enormously to the character of the wine. If it is too high in quantity, it can leave the wine bitter. If not high enough in quantity, the wine can taste similar to fruit juice.
Red Wine Aging Process:
Tannic acids typically act as a natural preservative which is critical for proper wine aging.
As wine ages in the bottle, the tannic qualities begin to break down and "soften" allowing the wine to mature. During this aging process, red wines typically become lighter in color.
It is common, that as the qualities in the wine vary, so does the taste.
Wines that experience higher tannic qualities are generally the full-bodied red wines such as the Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sangiovese.
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For more information about dry red wines please visit: Types of Red Wine.