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Understanding Wine Acidity, Tannins, and Body

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Wine is an intricate beverage, captivating with its complexity and the harmony of its components. Among these, acidity, tannins, and body are fundamental aspects that define a wine's character, influencing its taste, texture, and overall drinking experience. Grasping these concepts can enhance your appreciation of wine, guiding you towards discovering your personal preferences.

Acidity: The Backbone of Freshness



Acidity is a key element that contributes to the freshness and crispness of a wine. It's what makes your mouth water and is often described in terms of citrusy, tart, or crisp flavors. Acidity is particularly prominent in white wines, like Sauvignon Blanc, which can exhibit vibrant, zesty qualities. However, it's also crucial in reds, providing balance and preventing wines from feeling too heavy or flat.

High-acidity wines are lively and refreshing, ideal for cutting through the richness of fatty foods.
Low-acidity wines tend to feel smoother and rounder, offering a more mellow drinking experience.

Tannins: The Texture Factor

Tannins are naturally occurring compounds found in grape skins, seeds, and stems, and they can also be introduced through aging in oak barrels. They are most relevant in the context of red wines, contributing to the wine's structure and mouthfeel. Tannins create a dry, astringent sensation in the mouth, similar to the feeling of drinking strong tea.



High-tannin wines, like Cabernet Sauvignon, are robust with a grippy texture, ideal for pairing with protein-rich foods which soften the tannins' astringency.
Low-tannin wines, such as Pinot Noir, are softer and silkier, making them approachable and versatile.

Body: The Weight of Wine



The body of a wine refers to its weight or the overall feel in your mouth, which can range from light to full. This perception is influenced by several factors, including alcohol content, sugar level, and how the wine is made.

Light-bodied wines are delicate and light, often with higher acidity, making them refreshing and easy to drink.

Medium-bodied wines offer a balance between light and full, presenting a more substantial feel without being too heavy.


Full-bodied wines are rich and intense, with higher alcohol content and often more pronounced flavors and complexity.

Acidity, tannins, and body are crucial in defining a wine's personality, influencing how it tastes, feels, and pairs with food.


 By understanding these elements, you can better navigate your wine choices, tailoring your selections to your preferences and dining occasions. Whether you enjoy crisp, refreshing whites, robust, tannic reds, or anything in between, there's a world of wine waiting to be explored.

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FW Jarene Low 1 April 2024
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