If you have been visiting your favorite place to enjoy good wine, you must have come across the word "tannins". While knowing what it means is not an absolute necessity, but it can surely help you understand why some wines leave you with a headache and the kind of wine you are drinking.
To start, tannins are naturally-occurring compounds existing inside grape seeds, stems, and skins. They release from the seeds, stems, and skins when they soak in the juice of grapes just after the fruit has been pressed. The effects of tannins can be noticed every time you feel a drying sensation in the mouth after having a sip of a wine.
What Makes A Wine Have Weak Or Strong Tannins?
This actually is dependent upon how long the juice of grapes sits with the seeds, stems, and skins after the fruit has been pressed. The longer the skins, stems, and seeds soak in the juice, the more characteristics of tannins they will reveal. This is the reason why red wines tend to have stronger tannins than their white counterparts. A red winemaker wants the skins to provide more color to add more of tannins to the juice. Winemakers add deeper complexity to the wines by extracting tannins characteristics.
Benefits Of Tannins
Tannins work as natural antioxidants to protect wines. This is the primary reason why specific red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon are so age-worthy.
Tannins protect grape plants from biotic and abiotic stress by acting as efficient and powerful repellents against parasites and predators. In particular, Tannins prove out to be the endogenous inhibitors of the growth of different species of pests. Tannins, primarily the hydrolysable ones, provide flavor and structure to wines that lack taste and texture. Tannins, in enology, are generally used to complex unstable wine proteins and they are also used to improve the antimicrobial properties of sulfur dioxide to inhibit the growth of microorganisms.
Color stabilization is one of the most fundamental steps for enhancing the longevity of good red wines. The use of tannins, both condensed and hydrolysable, is beneficial to integrate the natural texture of tannin present in wines. Furthermore, tannins are beneficial for preserving the polyphenols that are naturally present in grapes, to maintain sensory perception of grapes and unaltered typical taste.
Tannins are also useful to human health in endless ways. They protect the tissues from the negative actions of free radicals because of the process of cellular aging. Tannins also demonstrate efficacy to maximize sexual performance and combat hair loss. They are also known to act as protecting agents in the immune system, cardiovascular system, and the urinary tract. Tannins also have demonstrated anti-cancer properties, including the ability to inhibit the growth of cancerous cells.