Wine Word Wednesday: Tannins

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Tannins! Woot!
Imagine the last time you had a glass of wine. Once you took a sip, did you notice a sensation in the back of your mouth as though your jaw muscles were being activated?  Perhaps, as if all of the moisture was being removed from your mouth? If so, that wine was probably highly tannic. 

"In wine, tannin is a textural element that makes wine taste dry."  WINE FOLLY

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Tannins are a naturally occurring compound, polyphenols, that exist in inside the grapes skin, seeds and stem. This is why red wines tend to be higher in tannins than white wines. In the winemaking process, red wines have more contact with the skins seeds and stem, as they are left to soak in the freshly-pressed grape juice to give the wine structure and characteristic dryness.  Whites that a are barreled in wood can sometimes absorb tannins from the wood, and take on a dryer quality as well.