1997 Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon (Australia)
Doon Vineyards Cigare Volant
- Take a sip
of the Bonny Doon wine and notice how it feels in the mouth. Is
there any bitterness to it? Now try the Coonawarra Cabernet. Does
the second wine feel different in your mouth? Does one wine taste
fruitier or lighter than the other?
- Now, nibble
on some bread topped with blue cheese. Try the Cabernet again.
Does it taste or feel different in your mouth?
Cabernet is higher in tannins, compounds whose concentration varies
from grape to grape. Tannins are also present in wine stems and
seeds and in the barrels used to age wines. Tannins can give a wine
body; people sometimes describe these wines as “big.” When drunk
young, high-tannin wines have a drying effect in your mouth. These
wines can make it seem like your teeth have sweaters on them; the
tannin is reacting with your saliva to create a compound that sticks
to your teeth.
considered desirable in wines that are meant to be aged; over time,
the tannins soften and add to the complexity of a well-aged red
wine. For wines you intend to drink right away, too much tannin
can be harsh.
especially ones with a high fat content like blue cheese, can counteract
the tannin in wine and make them easier to drink. The fat in the
cheese coats your mouth, keeping the tannin compounds from reacting
with saliva and sticking to your teeth.
confuse tannin and acidity in wine. It’s easy to tell the difference
if you swish the wine between your gums and teeth. Tannin tends
to dry your mouth out and put a coating on your teeth, while acid
makes your mouth water.