Let’s uncover one more of the secrets of wine?
Today I want to talk about the spine of a red wine, the tannins. If I was referring to football, I would talk about the mid field player, that player that supports the team, responsible for distributing the ball and for making sure that the group (of the elements) results in an exceptional team.
Transposing the subject of soccer to wine, the winemaker knows that the spine of the wine is equally essential in trying to reach the balance and, for consequence, the excellence. In red wines, the tannins are the ones playing in this position. These are responsible for the structure of the wine and are in the central position of this “game”.
What are, in fact, the tannins? They are substances called polyphenols that are easily found in the vegetable kingdom, in plants, seeds, fruit, fruit peel or in wood, for example. We are daily in contact with tannins and they are part of our diet. There is a simple form of understanding where the tannins are. Do you know that dryness in the mouth that we felt when we ate a banana still green, a persimmon that didn't have enough time of ripening or that black tea that was infusing for too much time? That’s it. These are examples of green tannins in the case of the banana and of the persimmon, and examples of too much extraction of tannins, in the case of the tea. Thus, it is easy to notice the presence and importance of the tannins in wine.
The essence of a wine are the grapes, the fruit that the grape grower creates during the year, accompanied by the winemaker. As the date of the harvest approaches, the most difficult decision is to pick the right day to start, the day in that the flavour of the grapes is in point and the tannins should already be ripe. With the grapes in the wine cellar, the decision is now of extracting more or less tannins from the grape. In a wine in that the "mid field player" is nervous, too much interactive, it is difficult for the team to win. But on the other hand, if the “player” is too ripe and sits down heavy, it won't have enough strength to help the team getting to victory.
It is all a matter of balance and harmony. If the tannins are the “mid field player”, the spine of red wines, and they are the ones responsible for the wines’ structure, it is essential for them to be in harmony with the remaining players, forming the body of the wine... and, preferably, a victorious team.