You've probably heard of tannins in wine, but what exactly are they? And how do they affect our way of seeing wine?

Tannins are polyphenols found naturally in plants, seeds, bark, wood, leaves and fruit skin. Polyphenols are macromolecules made up of phenols: Complex interactions of oxygen and hydrogen molecules (Yes, wine is a science!).

Grapes and their tannins

The word "tannin" comes from the ancient Latin "tanner" and refers to the use of tree bark to make leather.

Tannin gives the wine bitterness and dryness. It is mainly found in red wine, although some white wines contain tannins (from aging in wooden barrels or from fermentation in skins). Need an example? Put a wet tea bag on your tongue. 50% of the dry weight of its leaves are pure tannins.

Other products containing tannins:

  • tea leaves
  • Walnuts, almonds and other dried fruits (with skin)
  • Dark chocolate
  • Cinnamon, cloves and other spices
  • Grapes, grapes and açai berries

The tannins in wine are good for health. In fact, there is a study on the effects of tannins in wine and tea on the body and their oxidation. In tests, wine tannin resisted oxidation, while tea tannin did not. In other words, it is an antioxidant.

Still, there is no consensus on the relationship between tannin and migraine. To eliminate them from your diet, you must stop eating chocolate, nuts, apple juice, tea (especially black), pomegranate and wine.

Although grapes with tannins may seem harsh on their own, they can be excellent companions to other products and are important for wine to age well.

Red wine is known for having more tannins than white, but not all are created equal.

Here are some examples of red wines with high tannin content:

Cabernet Sauvignon:

Did you know that Cabernet Sauvignon can be grown in a wide range of climates? Well yes: Cabernet Sauvignon is the "grape for all seasons" par excellence.

Cabernet Sauvignon is best known as a variety produced in the Bordeaux region of France, but did you know that it is also grown in Baja California, California, Australia and even South Africa?

The next time you buy a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, or any other type of wine, look no further than Mexico. Here at home you will find many great options.


Nebbiolo is one of the most popular grape varieties in Italy and Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico, and is increasingly popular around the world. It is valued for its high tannin content and bitterness, but its light aroma makes it a great wine to pair with food.


Tannat is a grape variety widely cultivated in Uruguay and Argentina, it has been used to make wines for centuries. This grape is known for its high tannin content, which gives it a robust and full-bodied flavor.

Young Syrah:

Originally French, Petite Sirah and its strong flavors are now available in California.

The Petite Sirah grape is a tannic, dark-skinned variety native to France. It was brought to California at the end of the 19th century by French winegrowers, who were looking for new wine varieties to plant on their properties in the Napa Valley.

Petit Verdot:

Petit Verdot, also known as "little green leaf", is a red grape variety that offers a floral tone and soft tannins. It is best blended with other grapes to create rich, complex wines.

The tontines in the wines

What red wine does not have tannins?

The unique process of making red wines means that they all contain tannins. If it is red, then there are tannins.

Of course, there are tannins in white wine too! However, since most white grapes are directly pressed rather than macerated, the amount of tannin in their skins and seeds is usually low.

How do tannins help balance wine?

Tannins are one of the most important components of wine, although they are not what we usually think of when talking about wine.

They are the astringent compounds that give wine its structure and help it age well. But what are tannins? What are its characteristics and how do they affect the wine?

First, tannins are found in the skin and seeds of grapes. When extracted from the solids of the grapes during winemaking, they add color (reds) and astringency (bitterness) to the wine. Tannins also help wines age well: despite the surprising astringency that high-tannin wines have when young, it is one of the key characteristics that allows red wines to age well for decades. Over time, those large bitter tannins polymerize - creating long chains between each other - making them softer and less harsh.

Knowing (and loving) tannins

Nebbiolo is one of those grape varieties that naturally, inevitably and unforgivably contains a lot of tannins. From the first one or two tastes, the gums begin to swell and the mouth is dry, like dusty window glass.

This can be scary if you don't expect it. That's why some people now opt for a nice, sweet Merlot.

It's funny how people have such different reactions to the sensation caused by tannins. Some, whether out of stubbornness, masochism or thinking that something important is coming, sit down and bite into a large piece of meat marinated in olive oil and ground pepper. Encouraged, they drink more wine and suddenly everything makes sense.

1 comment

  • Pepe
    • Pepe
    • December 28, 2022 at 6:53 pm

    Esto es muy interesante. No tenía ni idea de que los vinos que no son tintos pudieran tener taninos.

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