You know that puckering sensation you get when you drink an over-steeped mug of black tea? How about that puckering sensation you get when you drink a young Cabernet? Both sensations come from the same source: tannins.
Tannins are a family of natural organic compounds that are found in a number of foods and non-foods, including grapes, teas, nuts, berries, wood, persimmons, pomegranates, chocolate, legumes and many herbs.
Tannins are an excellent antioxidant and natural preservative and are vital for red wine character and quality.
My friend and fellow wine consultant Kimberly Houston wrote a wonderful article on tannins in her Wine and Walnuts blog. Here’s just one great point Kimberly makes in her article: “Oh, and one reason that big, bold Cabernet Sauvignon goes so well with steak? The proteins and fats in the meat tame the tannin in the wine and the tannin in the wine helps cleanse your palate of the fats and oils in the rich meat. (Personally, I think there’s way more to that sublime match than the science, but there ya go.)”
I encourage you to read Kimberly’s article to learn more about tannins. And her article is just the start. Wine experts spend years studying tannins.
If you have additional thoughts about tannins that you would like to share with us, please do so here.
Interesting that tannins are antioxidant rich. I thought tannins are what make some people swollen or bloated from red wine. Maybe it is. Do tannins sometimes make people sneeze or are these just all old wives tales I have heard over the years?
Some people are sensitive to tannins. But it’s hard to pin down that sensitivity, since black tea has tannins, and nobody seems to have the reactions to black tea that they have to red wine. On the sneezing front, I have no idea. I’ve never heard that people sneeze from tannins. But it could be. Again, do they sneeze only from the tannin in red wine or from all tannin? Curious minds would like to know 🙂
I was looking up about tannins making people sneeze and came across Chrystal’s post. I very often sneeze or feel like sneezing when I drink wine, especially red wine. The thing is I get the same effect from strong chocolate, beer and marmalade and I am trying to find the link. Mind you it doesn’t stop me consuming any of them!
David, I’m so glad you don’t let any of those problems stop you. If you ever figure out the connection, please let us know. I would love to be able to learn from you, and I would love to be able to pass this information along. Best of luck to you.