Lesson with the winemaker Nicola Dal Maso:WHAT ARE TANNINS?
We hear about tannins during the various tastings but do we know what they really are and what their function is? Let’s do some clarity.
What are tannins?
The tannins belong to the polyphenols (natural substances that give color to the wine as well as some taste sensations) and are found in fruits, bark and leaves of some plants. In grapes they are found in the stalk, in the skin of the red grape and in the seeds (grapeseeds).
How can we identify them?
Recognizing the presence of tannin is simple: do you have that “astringent” feeling, when all the gums dry out? This is exactly what tannins do.
What are tannins used for?
One of the most important properties of tannins is to protect wine. In addition, tannins bring greater complexity to the wine. It is the skill and experience of the winemaker that creates a balance between tannins, type of grapes, wine evolution and other variations.
In which wines do we find tannins?
Tannins are mainly present in red wines. In white wines it is preferable not to have them.
Which wines have the most tannins?
A world opens here: each type of red grape has its own “level” of tannins.
In Italy the king of tannic wines is Montefalco Sagrantino. In our areas, where temperature is particularly high, we can have soft and sweet tannins. Think of our “Colpizzarda” Tai Rosso Colli Berici Doc for instance: tannins present but soft. If instead we taste “Casara Roveri Cabernet” Igt Veneto we will immediately notice that the tannins are much richer. Cabernet Sauvignon is in fact very rich in tannins which usually require a longer period in barrels to smooth and make them velvety and elegant.