By Kori ~ June 12th, 2008.
As of today, we are implementing a new weekly feature called Wine Word of the Week. Each Thursday I will select one wine word that you may have heard but may not be exactly sure what it means. Iâ€™ll share with you an official â€œtextbookâ€ definition and then do my best to explain it in laymanâ€™s terms.
Our first Wine Word of the Week is tannins.
Official definition from Jancis Robinsonâ€™s The Oxford Companion to Wine:
Tannins are a diverse and complex group of chemical compounds that occur in the bark of many trees and in fruits, including the grape. Strictly speaking, a tannin is a compound that is capable of interacting with proteins and precipitating them; this is the basis of the process of tanning animal hides (hence the name tannin) and is also a process that is believed to be responsible for the sensation of astringency. Tannins in wine come predominantly from the grapes and, to a much lesser extent, from the wood in which the wine is aged.
Laymanâ€™s terms from Kori:
Tannins prolong the life of a great red wine. High tannins â€œpucker upâ€ the inside of your mouth and leave it feeling dry and cottony. As the wine ages, the tannins â€œsoftenâ€ and become less harsh in your mouth.
Filed under: Wine Word of the Week