Wines with low levels of tannin?
June 15, 2006 6:42 PM   Subscribe

Help me find a good wine with the lowest tannin levels as possible.

I am not really a wine person, but the other day I found out that what I don't like about wine is tannin, a chemical that gives a tactile sensation "like biting on a banana peel". So I am willing to try good red wines with low levels of tannin. Of course, my budget is limited. Any suggestions?
posted by falameufilho to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Check out a local wine store and ask for recommendations. They'll know their stock quite well and will work with you. This is much easier than taking random Internet citizen recommendations which may or may not address your issue, plus you'll need to find them.
posted by kcm at 6:51 PM on June 15, 2006

I have an allergy to tannins as well. Most servers are familiar with this sort of allergy and will recommend something to me.

By and large, though, merlot is high in tannins, pinot noir is low...
posted by k8t at 6:55 PM on June 15, 2006

Grenache and pinot noir are reds that are generally low in tannin, like k8t said. Good grenache is often pretty pricy, but there are some good and relatively inexpensive Aussies that are widely available. Try Yalumba, Kilikanoon or D'Arenberg. There are millions of pinot noirs to choose from, so maybe you could ask your local wine store for ideas about that.
posted by shoos at 7:02 PM on June 15, 2006

Oh, and my allergic reactions are that my face gets red, swells a little, my lips and tongue turn red, my inside of my mouth is sort of itchy... like biting a banana peel, yes.

But I LOVE wine... although some whites are too sugary for me.

I took a wine class and learned more about tannins and the wine guy said that this all is very common.
posted by k8t at 7:13 PM on June 15, 2006

Best answer: From Allrecipes:
Red wines from lightest to boldest (and their tannin levels):

Beaujolais (low tannin)
Tempranillo (low tannin)
Pinot Noir, from the United States (low to medium tannin)
Burgundy (low to medium tannin)
Chianti Classico (low to medium tannin)
Barbaresco (low to medium tannin)
Bordeaux (low to medium tannin)
Merlot, from the United States (low tannin)
Zinfandel (medium to high tannin)
Cabernet Sauvignon, from the United States or Australia (high tannin)
Rhône, Syrah, Shiraz (high tannin)

This seems about right to me - and it allows for origin - I've noticed that S. American varietals seem to be lower in tannins than their European counterparts - i'm told that's due to the temperature at which their grown (much higher in Chile + Argentina).
posted by Jos Bleau at 7:16 PM on June 15, 2006 [7 favorites]

One further note - generally, the further down-market one goes in a varietal, the fewer tannins there MAY be. For example, the dirt cheap gallon jug Chiantis that were a staple of my childhood had almost no tannins - but the 'good ones' that cost $20 a bottle always seemed to have a very noticeable tannin content. That's just an observation, not a rule.
posted by Jos Bleau at 7:28 PM on June 15, 2006

You could try rose (blush) wines to start with. The tannins all come from the grape skins, so those obviously have less in them.

There are a lot of good Pinot Noirs from Oregon too, A to Z is my favorite currently.
posted by borkingchikapa at 8:21 PM on June 15, 2006

Italian red wines from the Friuli region (Cormons) and Croat and Slovenian wines from nearby Istria are the lowest tannin wines I have ever tasted, followed by Dalmatian wines. I live in Hungary, where the reds are very oakey, and travel around a lot. Wines grown along a strip of hilly land stretching from the Mediterranean coast to about 100 km inward are going to be less oakey, say my Friuli friends, because they are watered by mist flowing down the mountains to the sea.
posted by zaelic at 1:36 AM on June 16, 2006

I think a lot of people think this way when recalling events, but to mention it in your story retelling does seem pretty weird to me.

You both win.
posted by agregoli at 7:15 AM on June 16, 2006

Sorry, wrong thread.
posted by agregoli at 7:15 AM on June 16, 2006

Second the A to Z Pinot recommendation. It's nice. You're looking for inexpensive pinot noir and beaujolais.

To answer a related question: Wines are all about balance. There are some wines(Cabs and Zins, mostly) that are so heavily oaked you'd think they're made for termites. It's particularly bad when there's no acidity to balance out the tannins. However, without a little tannin, some wines would be too acidic. So I wouldn't write off all tannin just yet, just avoid the oak-crazy ones.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 9:40 AM on June 17, 2006

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