List of Components in Wine

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007 at 12:00 am

wine bottleFlavor is not the only thing that you need or have to pay attention to in a wine. One could do better and appreciate more the complex qualities of a bottle of wine if one comprehends its basic structure. The balance of tannins, acidity, alcohol, flavor and other components will help you understand and enjoy the taste of a glass of wine. In wine drinking we go beyond the simple salty, sweet, bitter, and sour tastes and expand the tasting experience with union of our sense of smell and overall mouth feel.

Tannins

Tannins are proteins found in the skin, pips, and stalks of grapes. They are natural preservatives and play an important role in aging, especially of red wines. However, they also play a vital role in wine tasting. Tannins are responsible for the feeling we have a coating on our taste buds and mouth after we drink wine.

This covering can cause us not to taste anything well. However, when tannins are in the right amounts, it gives the wine a good mouth feel and help us taste the sensations of the wine. It should provide the structure of the wine without overpowering the palate.

Wine Acidity

All fruits have certain levels of acidity. Without the presence of acids, the fruit will taste overly sweet. The acidity balances the tastes. In wines, the presence of too little acid will make the overall taste dull but too much of it will make the wine sharp, harsh and practically undrinkable.

Conventionally, wines that have a rather concentration of acidity came from a cooler region, like the Northern France, England or New Zealand perhaps. And consequently, countries with warmer weathers would produce relatively low acid wines .

Alcohol Content

Alcohol is produced from the fermentation of the grape’s sugar by yeasts. It is the sugar amount in the grapes that determines the final alcohol level. Wines produced in cooler regions will have very low alcohol contents as compared to those in warmer weather. When the weather is cold, the grapes do not ripen that much and sugar levels are pretty low.

Consequently, the wines produced from this low sugar grapes are mere 7 or 8% proof. On other hand, grapes in warmer climates ripen quickly and have much more sugar. Thus, it follows that wines created from grapes have higher levels of alcohol, more than 15% in fact.

Sugar

The level of sugar in the wine will determine the wine’s sweetness. However, the amount can still be subjective since some wine will taste dry due to tannins and acidity even though it contains higher amounts of sugar.

While other wines will taste sweet even though the amount of the residual sugar in the wine is small. The sweetness of the wine is affected by a number of factors including acidity, tannins, temperature and personal palate.

Use of Oak Barrels

Wine is often placed in oak barrels for aging. The oak barrels releases its own characteristics into the wine adding to the unique taste and flavors of the the final wine output. Oaks would release vanilla, spice, toffee, caramel, or buttery flavors.

Yeast

Adding yeast is necessary to ferment the wine. Most of the time, the yeasts themselves add their own unique flavors to the wine. When the wine has completed fermentation, the dead yeast cells are removed through a variety of ways.

The presence of yeast can add extra richness and texture to the wine as well as bready, biscuit-like aroma or flavor.