Today on The Dish, it’s red wine quiz time!

Who knows, truly, where tannins come from? (Hint, hint! There is a partial answer in the title to this blog post.)

Red wine tannins come off the seeds, skins and stems of the grape. White wines are low in tannins because the seeds, skins and stems are removed during the wine making process. Additionally, tannins come from the barrel in which they are stored – so the type of wood is important as it becomes a part of the flavor of wine.

Some wine makers use tannin additives during and after fermentation to adjust the flavor of their wines. This has long been practiced in European and South American vineyards and has caught on in the U.S. (specifically California) in recent time. Though usually unadvertised – wineries prefer to avoid the stigmatization of tannin additives as “unnatural”—tannin additives have been used for years to preserve wine, give it color and alter the flavor.

So, this edition of Sip Tips is brought to you by the skin … and the seeds and the stems for full bodied, high (and low) tannin Red Wines. Tannins tend to cause your mouth to feel dry after each sip. We will go down the line of basics on some red wines, starting with those that have the most tannin and ending with the least tannin. We hope that you learned a fun fact that you can spring on your husband or wife, friends or date at your next night out!


Cabernet Sauvignon

Tannic Quality: Very High

Yum Factor: Sweet fruit characteristics

Regions: Bordeaux, France; California, U.S.; Washington State, U.S.

Food Pairings: Red meats, hearty tomato based dishes, and strong cheeses


Tannic Quality: Very high

Yum Factor: Spicy fruit characteristics

Regions: Rioja and Ribera del Duero (Regions in Spain)

Food Pairings: Hearty tomato based dishes, tapas, roasted entrees.

Syrah (Shiraz in Australia)

Tannic Quality: High

Yum Factor: Savory characteristics

Regions:  Rhône Valley, France; Australia, California

Food pairings: Soft pungent cheeses, strong flavored meets (BBQ).


Pinot Noir

Tannic Quality: Medium-Low

Yum Factor: Fruit forward characteristics

Regions: Burgundy, France; And regions all over the world

Food Pairings: Roasted meats, cheese plates, roasted vegetables, creamy sauced dishes like a white sauce pizza.


Tannic Quality: Low

Yum Factor: Mellow Fruity, Earthy Characteristics

Regions: Bordeaux, France; California, U.S.; Washington State, U.S.

Food Pairings: Lightly spiced meats, pork, herbed chicken, and in some cases Merlot can be paired with greens.


Which red wine will you drink on National Red Wine Day? What factors make your wine choice most enjoyable? Tell us in the comments section below.