We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
In press accounts of two studies on wine psychology, consumers have been portrayed as dupes and twits, subject to the manipulations of marketers, critics and charlatan producers who have cloaked wine in mystique and sham sophistication in hopes of better separating the public from its money.
Is that true? I have tasted some undrinkable wines in my time, very many entirely OK table wines, and some sublime ones. Tasting a wine is like meeting a new person: put your preconceptions away and see who they are. Turning wine into an effete exercise is pure silliness.
Am not much of a wine drinker but one of the best wines I ever had was homemade by a friend, who was part of a small winemaking club, i.e., about 5 guys and a garage. He told me the secret was the tannins and the expensive oak barrels they had bought. One was a French oak barrel and one was from California. Also said they ordered the grapes from the local Italian market every year.
Effects of tannins on the drinkability and aging potential of wine
Tannins in wine have been described, particularly by novice drinkers, as having the effect of making wine difficult to drink compared to a wine with a lower level of tannins. Tannins can be described as leaving a dry and puckered feeling with a "furriness" in the mouth that can be compared to a stewed tea, which is also very tannic. This effect is particularly profound when drinking tannic wines without the benefit of food.
Many oenophiles see natural tannins (found particularly in varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and often accentuated by heavy oak barrel aging) as a sign of potential longevity and ageability. As tannic wines age, the tannins begin to decompose and the wine mellows and improves with age, with the tannic "backbone" helping the wine survive for as long as 40 years or more. A strongly tannic wine is also well-matched to very fatty food courses, in particular steaks; the tannins help break down the fat, with a salutary impact on both the wine and the steak. In many regions (such as in Bordeaux), tannic grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon are blended with lower-tannin grapes such as Merlot or Cabernet Franc, diluting the tannic characteristics. Wines that are vinified to be drunk young typically have lower tannin levels.
Interesting article. I have a small vineyard here in CA. I found another interesting aspect to this as well. I took two bottles of the same wine, from the same vintage, and placed the new and old label on them. Everyone far prefers the new label. I conducted a taste test, lo and behold the wine with the preferred label "tasted" better.