Tannins are defined as naturally occurring compounds that exist inside grape skins, seeds and stems. A red wine gets its color from soaking the juice with these skins, seeds and stems, but it also gets interesting flavors and aromas (i.e. “polyphenols”), similar to how tea leaves impart flavor to hot water as it steeps. Wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon are higher in tannins than medium or light-bodied wines, with a characteristic dryness or astringency that usually hits the tongue as an after taste, or “finish.” You can tell how “tannic” a wine is by how dry your mouth feels after you taste it.
Usually, a wine in the $20 range or less is only mildly tannic, if at all. One of the reasons a wine is more expensive is due to its ability to improve with age, and tannins are one of that factors that preserve and protect a wine over time; acidity is another.
Why all this detail about tannins? Because B-Side Cabernet, from California’s North Coast, is considerably more tannic than I expected, considering its price point. (And that’s a good thing!)
This is a quality wine that is more than just fruit and spice! Yes, you have blackberry and currant, but also dark chocolate, toffee and mocha flavors. And it’s also got what they call “grip,” with an interesting finish that was almost salty – thanks tannins! I will be interested to see how this wine tastes in a couple of years.
On my five-cork scale based on taste and value, I give the B-Side Cabernet Sauvignon 3.8 corks! If you’re looking for a smooth-drinking fruit bomb, this is not it, but if you want something different that will make you think about what you’re tasting, try B-Side for under $20 everywhere.
If you’d like to try interesting wines like this, please join me at our next private wine party at Sorrento’s Norwood Italian! I host a wine dinner there every month, and we feature several interesting wines, each paired with a delicious course. There are always cool prizes to win, too, so listen Wednesday at 4:15 to win your spot on the guest list, or click here for a chance to win!