Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tannin - ball.

I come to wine from coffee and when it comes to understanding wine I merely apply what I already understand about coffee, for better or worse. While acidity is a discussed component in coffee, tannins are not and for the year now I've failed to comprehend the difference between the two.

Every once in awhile when time allows I continue to search the plethora of offerings via Google, and after enough confusion and frustration sets in I give up until next round. This takes about four minutes as I'm not horribly complicated and really just want to know the conceptual difference between these two things minus perusing dissertations of chemistry.

In coffee, it's easy. I used to teach it: Lower Lingers Longer. The higher the acidity, the more effervescent the coffee would seem, and the quicker it would leave the palate, like most Central American coffees. The heavier, fuller coffees with low acidity are the Indonesians.

I finally came across two or three places that put it the same way: Acidity will make your mouth water. Tannins leave your mouth dry. Oooohhhhh...I get that! Of course I'm sure it's more nuanced that that, but that's the place I was looking to start from. I also read somewhere that acidity was towards the front of the palate and tannins at the back.

All of this came in very handy all of a sudden when, by way of the grande path of bewildering generosity, I was given the opportunity to open this one recently. (Nice label...) I must say, my first thought was, wow, good thing I learned what tannins are, because this is a big bowl of it. The next day I did some poking around about it and two comments on Cellar Tracker were tannin-centric. The others were lying. BUT. the second night things calmed down a bit and by the third night I was rather enjoying this wine as the tannins softened and the fruit caught up with it.