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High Tannin Wines

High tannin wines are characterized by elevated levels of tannins, which are compounds found in grape skins, seeds, and stems. Tannins contribute to the structure, mouthfeel, and aging potential of red wines. Tannins can impart a drying and sometimes astringent sensation in the mouth. Here are some key characteristics associated with high tannin wines:

  1. Tannin Presence: The defining feature of high tannin wines is the noticeable presence of tannins. Tannins are polyphenolic compounds that bind with proteins in the saliva, creating a drying sensation.

  2. Structure and Aging Potential: Tannins contribute to the structural backbone of red wines, providing texture and complexity. Wines with higher tannins often have good aging potential, allowing them to evolve and develop additional flavors and nuances over time.

  3. Red Wine Dominance: While tannins can be present in some white wines (especially those aged in oak barrels), the term "high tannin" is typically associated with red wines. Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo, and Syrah are examples of red grape varieties known for producing high tannin wines.

  4. Bold and Robust: High tannin wines are often bold and robust, with a strong presence on the palate. They can be characterized by dark fruit flavors, such as blackcurrant and blackberry.

  5. Food Pairing: Tannic wines pair well with foods that have fat and protein, as the tannins help cut through the richness. Common pairings include grilled meats, hearty stews, and aged cheeses.

Examples of grape varieties that often produce high tannin wines include:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon: Known for its intense tannins, Cabernet Sauvignon wines are full-bodied and age well.

  • Nebbiolo: Commonly found in wines from Barolo and Barbaresco regions in Italy, Nebbiolo wines are highly tannic and known for their longevity.

  • Syrah/Shiraz: Syrah, known as Shiraz in Australia, can produce wines with substantial tannins, often accompanied by dark fruit and peppery notes.

  • Tannat: This grape variety is known for its high tannin content and is frequently found in wines from regions like Madiran in Southwest France.

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