Tannins are found mostly in fruit that has yet to ripen. They exist to ward off pests and predators that otherwise might consume the fruit before it has become fully ripe. You will also find tannins as being primarily responsible for the color of the leaves in the fall and in flowers. You can find tannins in many plants, seeds, the skin of fruit, and the bark of trees.
The taste of tannins is unmistakable as they are bitter, astringent, and telling you that the fruit is not ready to consume. They are water-soluble polyphenols of plans and bind together the proteins, so they are essential for the plant’s existence. However, since many fruits may be picked before they ripen or the tannins fade away, you will taste it in many different foods and beverages. It’s a mouth-puckering taste that also causes a dry gum sensation which is bitter and is certainly not pleasing.
Wine: You will find plenty of tannins in wine because they come from the skin, seeds, and stems of the grapes that have been included in the wine-making process. Even if the grapes are fully ripe, their skin still contains some tannins along with any seeds or stems that might be mixed into the vat.
However, the wine-making process transforms the tannins so they help create softer effect. This results in the wine having a fully body and becoming more pleasing to the taste. Tannins also serve a more important function by helping to preserve the taste of the wine because their presence prevents spoilage and oxidation. In addition to the skin, seeds, and stems from grapes, tannins are also introduced through the oak barrels which many wineries use to store and age the wine. In fact, the taste of the tannins from the oak barrels enhances the flavor of the wine. The wines with the most tannins include, but are not limited to the following:
- Cabernet Sauvignon
The level of tannins found in other wines varies depending on when the grapes were harvested and how the wine itself was stored for aging purposes.
Tea: Teas are another common beverage that contain tannins. Black tea is loaded with tannins which provides the bitter taste. Basically, when the catechins or antioxidants that are found in green tea oxidize, they form a tannin called thearubigins which is why they are mostly found in black tea that has been fully oxidized. However, there are other teas that also contain tannins from the oxidation process as well as certain black teas that gain their color from being roasted, not oxidized, so there are no tannins present in them.
Other Beverages Containing Tannins
In addition to wine and tea, the other beverages that contain tannins include apple juice, apple cider, grape juice, and beer. This should not be surprising to anyone who has tasted these four beverages as many have the distinctive bitter taste that comes with the presence of tannins.
So, while wine is a common beverage that contains tannins, it’s also true of several other beverages as well.