How Tannins Affect the Taste of Your Wine

How Tannins Affect the Taste of Your Wine

How Tannins Affect the Taste of Your Wine.

To begin this segment on home winemaking, I’m going to pose the question, “What exactly is tannin?” Do you have any idea what it is or where it came from? If you grasp these concepts, you may begin to comprehend how it functions in your wine and how it might be used in your winemaking repertory.

In order to provide some background information for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term tannin, I’ll start with the definition from the dictionary:

A bitter-tasting chemical compound found in certain galls, barks, and other plant tissues, which is composed of gallic acid derivatives. Tannin is yellowish or brownish in color and has a harsh taste.

You could have guessed from that definition that tannin is not just found in wine. You would be correct. It may be found in a wide variety of plants.

In more familiar terms, it may be found in a variety of foods such as coffee, tea, bananas, and immature avocados that you may have attempted to make guacamole out of prematurely. When you take a sip of tea before adding some sugar or lemon to it, you get a dryness to your mouth and throat.

Most of us are familiar with the tannin found in wine, particularly if we have had any encounters when it made our lips feel like they were made of leather. Because of this, it is no accident that tannins are the precise basis on which leather is cured.

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What it is and where it originates from are now clear to us. From this point on, we can talk about how tannin will affect the outcome of your wine and how it plays a role in the winemaking process itself.

Tannin may be produced from a variety of sources in wine, including grape skins, seeds, stems, and oak barrels. We’ll take them one at a time and break them down. At least in the modern world, the tannins extracted from grape skins will only be utilized to make red wines, as opposed to white wines.

Even now, white wines with tannin may be found in the area of Georgia, dating back to the region’s earliest days of more sophisticated winemaking and continuing to this day.

Their reasoning is that doing so allows the juice to ferment with the skins, or rather with complete bunches of fruit. As a result, you will detect a substantial amount of tannin in this variety of white wine, sometimes known as “orange wine.”

With the exception of Georgian wine and a very limited number of other nations, red wine is the only kind of wine that we are familiar with. Because we ferment the juice while it is in touch with the skins and, in certain cases, the stems of the fruit, it is more flavorful.

For lighter varietals like Pinot Noir, fermenting with complete bunches is not a bad idea since the stems provide a savory note to the wine and give it a stronger sense of structure.

As for tannins from seeds, they are not tannins you want. In the case of winemaking, if you are collecting grapes and discover that the seeds are particularly acidic and harsh as you taste your wine during the filtering process, you may use a sieve to remove some of the seeds.

Of course, it would be difficult to remove all of them, but if you end up with too much tannin from the seeds, your wine maybe a little too high in tannin for its own good.

What is Tannin and How Does It Work in Wine?

It is critical to impart fruit tannin into one’s wine at this stage of the fermentation process. Using grapes requires paying close attention to punch-downs, which isn’t difficult but does need focus. Within the first 24 hours after crushing, the grape skins will float to the top of the juice and settle there.

From the time you add the first food ingredient until the completion of the fermentation process, you must ensure that the skins are incorporated into the juice as much as possible.

When working with smaller batches of wine, you can use a special plastic spoon that most winemaking suppliers have on hand, and when working with larger batches, you can use a food-grade tool that basically has a long handle on the end of it with holes to push into the ‘cap’ (surface of grapes floating above the juice) in order to mix your wine and integrate tannin.

Aside from integrating tannin, punch-downs also aid in the imparting of color and other components that are vital to fragrance and texture while also ensuring that fermentation continues to be uniform and balanced over the course of the process.

Tannins and Oak are in a delicate balance.

The next question is, now that we have discussed fruit tannins, how can we balance those tannins with oak? A small or standard-sized barrel for your wine is ideal if you have the financial means. Make use of it!

Nonetheless, not everyone has access to, much alone the ability to purchase, one. There are other alternatives.

Many home winemaking manufacturers offer a variety of solutions for contemporary home winemaking, and you may find some of them online.

For the most part, winemaking component kits include everything you need to make the wine you want, including the proper quantity of tannin and the right kind of tannin. This includes anything from oak chips to powdered oak to even liquid tannin. Each kit comes with a set of instructions that are customized to it.

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