Archive for the 'Tannin' Category


Win the War on Fat

Set Your Inner Wino Free!

January is almost over! And for many of us the annual tradition of New Year’s resolutions is upon us. The panic time to lose the weight gained during the “’tis the season” eating orgy is in full bloom – I know, I actually had to wait for equipment at the gym last night for the first time ever!

It seems there are millions of different ways to begin your resolve (or is it resolution?), most with a financial caveat: “Lose all the weight you want in just 30 days—for a small fee!” “For only 49.99 a month you can find the new you!” “Join Jumping Jack Gym today and get a free personal trainer consultation!” You know the drill.

The problem with all these plans is the sacrifice they require. Believe me, I know. I’m from a genetically weight-challenged family – does the word obesity ring a bell? Clearly I have strong motivation to resolve… and bet many of you, my gentle wine lovers, do too. But before you hunker down for the long haul, let me offer a piece of advice: DON’T do it! At least not until you’ve read this column.

Continue reading ‘Win the War on Fat’


French or American… hmmm

Question: While you are on the subject of oak and tannins, what are the specific flavor characteristics of French versus American oak and (other than cost) what would be the reasons a winemaker would choose one over the other? – Brian, Sacramento CA

Answer: Generally, French oak has a tighter, less porous grain. American oak has a looser, more porous grain. The difference is the amount and intensity of oak, and tannin imparted. Obviously, the French stick mostly to their own. Spain likes to use both. We (California) use French, American, and Hungarian. Zinfandel is one of the reds that likes American – this is mostly because Zin has big juicy fruit, and can handle the more open aggressive American oak. Syrah will often be aged in both, but mostly French. Also, a winemaker will choose not only French, or American, but new, or one year, or older depending on how intense they want the tannin to be, and whether or not they want the wine to be age worthy – and let’s not forget how it’s toasted (the amount of burning the cooper does on the inside of the barrel). Oak is a significant recipe element in winemaking, and is way more multi-faceted than many realize. Fun question… thanks for sending it!


Mailbag Tuesday – tannins and tummy-aches

Question: Does oaking result in tannins? Is that why oaked chardonnays sometimes hurt my tummy, as do oaked reds, like cabernet? Kevin, WA

Answer: Yes, tannins are found in Oak. Generally wine gets tannins in two ways – the skin, seeds and stems from the grapes (fruit) and oak. Chardonnay, and to a lesser degree Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc and Simillion, make up the white wine family that will often have some oak tannins, however, no white wines are fermented with their skins, seeds and stems, so they never get tannins from these sources. All red wines, sans roses, spend some time on oak, therefore they have tannins as a result of the fruit and the wood. One thing to remember – the softer tannins come from the wood and the harsher tannins come from the fruit. Cabernet is one of the more tannic of the red wines. Pinot Noirs tend to be less tannic.

Regarding Stomach Upset: Caffeine and tannin can cause stomach upset by stimulating the production of gastric acid. Lots more can be said about tannins, and they are found in teas, coffees, fruits, nuts, and many other foods. They are also the reason red wines are good for the heart, since (put very simply) the acid structure in them helps minimize plaque build up in the arteries.

Patrick Bartlett

A conversation about food, wine, and the art of living well!


May 2018
« Mar