what are tannins in wine

What Are Tannins in Wine – Day 11

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Learn about tannins in wine on Day 11. Where they come from, how they impact the structure of the wine, how they evolve and how to describe them.


Paolo Scavino Barolo Carobric 2007
Find a Barolo on Wine.Com



Black licorice, star anise.


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Video Transcript

Wine: Barolo

Scent: Black licorice, Star Anise (get jar of licorice, jelly beans)

TITLE/SCREEN: DiVino Wine School Animated Logo

Hello again!


(HOOK) (ANNIE Sucks in cheeks) Do you know that feeling in wine? Stick around! Today is all about Tannins!  –

TITLE/SCREEN:  21 Days to Wine

TITLE/SCREEN: Day 11: What are Tannins in Wine?

I’m Annie, and we are back in action. DAY 11 IS ALL ABOUT TANNINS.  a Thanks so much for coming back! Let’s get started!

Walk off.

Have you been trying out any of the techniques I have taught you so far? Please let me know in the comments. 

And of course if you haven’t subscribed or enrolled in DiVino Wine school, click the links so you can follow along!

Today’s episode is dedicated to tannins. 

What are they, how do we talk about them in winetasting, and why do they matter?

TITLE/SCREEN: Bullet list to my side OR left, right and center.

-What are they?

-How do we talk about them in winetasting?

-Why do they matter?

Tannins come from the skins and seeds of crushed grapes.

TITLE/SCREEN: Tannins come from the skins and seeds of crushed grapes.

They can create a slightly bitter flavor and an astringent feeling, as if all the saliva was getting sucked out of your mouth.

Imagine biting into a very unripe piece of fruit. You know you can feel like the sides of your cheeks puckering in?

Scientifically speaking, tannins are a subset of polyphenols – which you might have heard of when talking about antioxidants and heart-healthy foods. 

TITLE/SCREEN: In simple science, Tannins are antioxidants.

Polyphenol molecules exist all though out the plant world – in bark, in leaves, thick-skinned berries, and in all kinds of fruit. They are present in coffee, tea, dark chocolate, and in the seeds, skins and stems of the grapevine. 

TITLE/SCREEN: They are believed to function as natural defense to keep the plants from being eaten.

They are believed to function as natural defense to keep the plants from being eaten.

(Annie takes a sip of wine) Well, that might work on bugs.  Not on Humans. Sorry grapes!

However, humans have been eating and drinking them for centuries, and may have even discovered some health benefits associated with tannins, which are widely believed to prevent heart attacks.

(PSA) TITLE/SCREEN: I am not a doctor. *Optional heart graphic.

But getting back to tannins in wine.  When the grapes are crushed after harvest, especially red grapes, the whole grape goes into the press. The longer the skin, seeds and little bits of the vine remain in contact with the juice, the more tannins will influence the taste and texture of the wine.

TITLE/SCREEN: Skin+seeds+stems = tannins

Depending on the grape variety and how the winemaker chooses to proceed will determine the tannic structure of the wine in your glass, even years later.

Tannin, like most everything else is best in moderation.

TITLE/SCREEN:  Tannin is best in moderation.

When wines are very young or very tannic, you feel the dryness and puckering in your mouth and it doesn’t feel great.

We describe these tannins as green, aggressive, or even slightly bitter.

TITLE/SCREEN: Words to describe excessive tannins:




 When you definitely notice them, but they don’t bother you or disrupt the quality or balance too much, you might call them grippy, like tiny hooks pulling at your cheeks and tongue.

TITLE/SCREEN: Grippy = Tannins you notice, but don’t mind.  

This is different from acidity, which we talked about in the last episode. Acidity tingles, tannins pull and pucker.

TITLE/SCREEN: Acidity tingles, tannins pull and pucker.  *OPTIONAL GRAPHIC Tingle mouth vs pucker mouth.

When tannins are at their best, they feel almost dusty  and feather light. Imagine the fine softness of cornstarch or luxury compact powder. This feeling on your palate helps create balance in the wine in the same way that acidity does.

TITLE/SCREEN: Evolved, Integrated, and Elegant Tannins.

The finish feels clean and resolved.  We call these tannins evolved, integrated and elegant.

Try a quick experiment. Without drinking anything, try to swallow. That sort of satisfying moment when your mouth is just dry enough is how elegant, or integrated tannins feel in a wine.

TITLE/SCREEN: Again, like acidity, tannins are major part of food and wine pairing. 

Again, like acidity, tannins are major part of food and wine pairing.  When you have something very saucy, or a rich broth, a wine with elegant, or polished tannins helps to keep a balance of dryness on your palate.

If you know you enjoy the sensation of moderate or polished tannins, look for thicker-skinned grapes, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec, Nebbiolo, Sagrantino, Tempanillo and Sangiovese.

TITLE/SCREEN: Grapes that produce more tannic wines. Bullet points or columns.

As I mentioned earlier, winemaking and aging both have a lot to do with how the tannins evolve in the wine.

So does the growing region and climate.  Cooler temperatures and harsh growing conditions can produce tougher tannins.

TITLE/SCREEN: Grapes need tough skins to survive.

Grapes need tough skins to survive and with that comes tougher tannins.

Hot sunny weather produces softer and rounder tannins, which come across in the palate of the wine.

To wrap it up, I’m tasting a Barolo, a wine that is notorious for its tannic structure. Since we’ve covered quite a bit so far in these ten episodes, I thought we taste through this together. Starting with color really quick.

Di you bring a Barolo today? Let me know in the comments.  If you have;t subscribed, now is a great time to do it! Remember, you can also enroll to advance notice about what we’re tasting. The link is right down there. And it’s free.

If you do this experiment on your own, let me know about in the comment section below.



This Barolo is a 2007.  As you can see, it’s got that translucent brick red and almost rusty edges. Remember to look at your wine against a white background.


Barolo has some of the most complex distinctive aromatic qualities which is why wine connoisseurs get so excited about it. In addition to high-tones black cherry (like you feel it here (indicate forehead), even maraschino cherry, it’s got some black licorice, and purple-black tar notes. Crazy right? That’s why I brought some of those things to day.

 If you’ve got the licorice or some black jelly beans, test it out!

TITLE/SCREEN: list the notes next to me:

High-toned cherry

Black cherry




White pepper

Rose petals


Barolo packs a punch in the nose, which is why a lot of people call it a big, bold wine. But the truth is, it’s actually more medium-bodied and has beautiful balance of silky, rounded-out tannins, racy red fruit acidity and a long finish. 

That’s it for today guys! I hope you plan to eat something nice with that Barolo and definitely share it with a friend! Let me know how it goes in the comments.

Remember to subscribe and enroll so you can taste and smell along with me next time!


END TITLE/SCREEN: Wine is a language. Learn how to speak it.

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