Everyone has their own taste preferences and some of us prefer to avoid wines with high tannins. Tannins occur naturally in plants and in wine grapes. In wine, tannins are predominantly water-soluble polyphenols. Polyphenols have remarkable antioxidant properties, anti-carcinogenic properties, and antimicrobial properties. Still, though, some of us need to avoid them. Why?
Here are a two valid reasons that you might want to avoid tannins:
You’re a Supertaster
About 25% of the population has a heightened sensitivity to bitterness and this group is referred to as “supertasters.” If you dislike bitter beers, kale, black coffee, and radicchio, you might fall into this category. Not all tannin is bitter, but the tannin found in the stems and seeds of grapes usually is.
You Have Tannin Sensitivity
Some people believe they have tannin sensitivity. While there is very little research available on this topic, one study does suggest that ingested tannin may affect energy metabolization, growth rates, and protein digestibility in lab animals. So, if your body is inefficient at digesting nutrients and you are highly sensitive to tea, coffee, red wine, cinnamon, and chocolate, this might be you.
What About Wine Headaches?
There is no evidence that suggests tannin causes wine headaches. It’s possible that you are sensitive to amines in red wine, such as tyramine, which can cause inflammation. However, most folks simply don’t drink enough water while tasting wine. Drink one glass of water with every glass of wine and your wine headache will go away for good!
Now that we have a good overall understanding of the topic of tannins vs. health, here’s a short list of wines that generally have lower tannins, along with several tips about each variety. Woot!
16 Low Tannin Red Wines To Try
Tips on Finding Low Tannin Wines
Since tannin is considered a positive trait in wine, making the finished product age-worthy, you’ll find that more expensive wines tend to have higher tannins. Of course, quality improves greatly with age as well, so tannins will usually be much less bitter in older wines.
Red wines that have “whole cluster fermentation” will have higher tannins because the stems are in contact with the wine. It’s a common practice on lighter red wines (such as Pinot Noir and Grenache/Garnacha), to help create a more age-worthy wine.
Oak barrels are essentially straight tannin and will add a great deal of tannin to wine. Although, this type of tannin will be substantially “sweeter.” Look for wines not aged in oak, aged in “used” oak, or for less aging time in oak for less overall tannin.
Generally speaking, more affordable wines tend to have lower tannin. There are several potential reasons for this. However, one of the biggest reasons is increased grape production in the vineyard reduces the polyphenol content in individual grapes.
Last Word: Drink More White and Rosé Wine
Since tannin is extracted from the skins, seeds, and stems of a grape, and these only come in contact in red wine fermentations (for the most part), the best way to completely avoid tannins in wine is to drink more rosé and white wine.
Antimicrobial and antiviral activity of hydrolysable tannins.
Activities of Tannins–From In Vitro Studies to Clinical Trials.
Tannins and human health: a review.
The parentage of “Sangiovese,” the most important Italian wine grape.