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Tannins: Everything You Need to Know About These Plant Compounds
What are tannins? We have all come across this word more than a dozen times in our lives, but what exactly is hidden under this cunning name, hardly anyone knows exactly. So let's figure out once and for all what tannins are, where they are contained and what effect they have on the human body.
What is the origin and purpose of tannins?
It must be said right away that tannins are natural substances of plant origin. Tannins are found in all parts of the grapes, except for the leaves, and also in the bark. But, in addition to grapes, they are found in small quantities in pomegranates, various varieties of nuts, cinnamon and other types of spices, as well as in cocoa fruits and tea leaves.
The most tannin grape varieties are the following:
• "Cabernet Sauvignon";
• "Petit Verdot".
Alcoholic drinks based on grapes automatically contain tannins, but in 99% of cases we are talking about red wines. The thing is that for their production, grape skins undergo a maceration procedure - this is the infusion of must on solid particles of grapes to extract aromatic components, tannins and anthocyanins from them. For the production of white wines, this technology is almost never used, the only exceptions are orange wines. To obtain them, a special, cold type of maceration is used, which is short in time.
The level of tannins in wine from different manufacturers will differ, because it depends not only on the grape variety and the category of the drink, but also on the production technology. Of course, tannins are felt the best in red wines, especially if grapes with thick skin were used for their production.
But although most of the tannins come from the grapes themselves, these particles also penetrate into the drink through wooden barrels. We have already mentioned that tannins are present in small quantities in wood.
Woody tannins and grape tannins are not the same thing. As a rule, tannins from wood have a more powerful effect. If red wines are kept in such barrels, rather than white ones, during the entire period of keeping this alcoholic drink in the container, there will be a constant exchange of tannins between the barrel and the wine. Even wines with a high tannin content, when aged in oak barrels, become softer and tastier over time.
There is another option for naturally saturating wine with tannins. We are talking about such a chemical compound as tartrates - these are small crystals of natural origin, sometimes contained in the sediment from old wine. It is these crystals that often contain a high concentration of tannins.
The higher the concentration of tartrates in the wine, the more developed and less tannin it will be. But not all wine lees will contain a lot of tannins and tartrates. If you carefully examine the bottom of a bottle of unfiltered wine, then what you see at the bottom will be organic in 90% of cases. Such organic sediments are not difficult to distinguish from tartrates in structure and color, because they are light crystals.
But both tannins and tartrates are substances of organic origin - they are natural and absolutely harmless to human health. But since tartrates are a by-product of wine, it is better not to swallow them when drinking wine. They will not have a toxic effect, but can slightly spoil the impression of the taste of the wine due to the slight bitterness.
Tannins: benefits and main properties
What are the characteristics of these substances and how they affect the quality of the wine. The first thing to look out for is the fact that tannins do not have a specific aroma and taste. The sensations that a person experiences as a result of drinking wine are the consequences of the interaction of proteins in the oral cavity and tannins - they can be called structural.
In addition to the tannins that give red wines a special texture, these plant compounds have another important function. They slow down the oxidation of wine and allow organizing a longer process of aging in barrels without spoilage. The greater the concentration of tannins in the wine, the more successfully it will go through the ripening process, and the longer it will be stored later.
But not all grape tannins are created equal. For example, those tannins that are synthesized in slowly ripening grapes will be very different from tannins from grapes that are ripe in just 1 week due to the hottest weather conditions.
The tannins in wine are the heart of the drink, an important part of its structure along with alcohol levels, sweetness and acidity. In a well-balanced wine, tannins are not perceived separately, but are an integral part of its taste - they are also called velvety and silky by experts. But there are other types of tannins - they give the wine a sharp, tangible taste (they are called green andrough).
To filter the finished wine from tartrates and tannins, liquid egg white or a special chemical is most often used. It has the name bentonite, this component is a dry glue in the form of a powder, which, when mixed with water, greatly increases. With the help of these components, the wine goes through a deep filtration process, as a result of which coloring and ordinary tannins, as well as mechanical suspensions, yeast sediment, turbidity, microorganisms are removed from the drink. It is these impurities that can negatively affect the organoleptic properties and persistence of the wine.
|Composition||Tanninum is natural|
|Setting||Red and white wine production|