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Step Aside, Potato Chips: Crunch on These Tannins!

Is your wine full of crunchy tannins? Like potato chip-crunchy? Not appealing when it comes to wine, eh? David McIntyre, writing in The Washington Post, dives into the wild world of tannins in wine. Prompted by a reader fed up with tannins firm, smooth, subtle, harsh, crunchy, or supple, McIntyre goes about explaining what he means when deploying each adjective. Though he professes innocence when it comes to the crunchy kind. McIntyre does, however, posit a guess: "I imagine the writer was trying to convey the texture of a young red wine with lots of tannin — a wine that you can’t just swish around your mouth but almost have to chew." And is left to wonder whether its considered a plus or a minus when reviewing a wine.

Crunchy tannins are all around us, and relished with pleasure. From a Wine Spectator review of the 2009 Col Solare by Harvey Steiman: "Dark and dense, with crunchy tannins around a solid core of black cherry and currant flavors, shaded with notes of sage and a hint of wet stone." Crunchy is not just the hallmark of burly red wines, as Steiman demonstrates when considering the 2011 Route 99 Pinot Noir: "Light and refreshing, this features delicately crunchy tannins surrounding a glowing core of raspberry and spice, lingering attentively on the finish." So not only can you have crunchy tannins, but delicately crunchy tannins as well. These ain't no Pringles!

And just to show that this phenomenon is not singular to Steiman, Hugh Johnson chimes in when discussing the pleasures of young Burgundy in the 2014 edition of his Pocket Wine Book: "It's that immediacy of aroma, those flowers and spices, those fresh, crunchy tannins; by putting bottles away you'll know you'll lose those." So now we can also have tannins of the freshly crunchy kind. I guess just like a chip (or a crisp, to Johnson), fresh crunch is the best crunch.

It is enough to have a wine described as "tannic"? Or do you crave knowledge of the nuances of tannin>



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