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What It Means When A Wine Is Considered 'Smooth'

glasses of wine
glasses of wine - Giovanni Magdalinos/Getty Images

In the world of wine, the term "smooth" is often thrown around, and while it may seem like an elusive quality, it's actually quite simple to understand. A smooth wine is essentially an easy-drinking wine, one that glides over your palate effortlessly, leaving behind a delightful trail of flavors. But what exactly makes a wine smooth, and why do we crave this quality in our glasses?

To understand wine smoothness, it's essential to delve into the world of tannins. These are natural compounds found in grape skins, seeds, and stems. Tannins play a crucial role in wine, contributing to a sensation of dryness, similar to how a strong black tea can leave your mouth feeling slightly parched. These tannins are responsible for a wine's structure and aging potential, but they can also make wine less smooth, especially when they're overly aggressive.

In contrast, a smooth wine strikes a harmonious balance between tannins and acidity. While acidity adds a refreshing zing and brightness to the wine, tannins provide texture and complexity. However, wines with excessive tannins and acidity tend to dry the mouth, making them less smooth. This dryness can overshadow the delicate nuances of the wine's flavors, making it challenging to savor -- especially for those who are new to savoring wines.

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Read more: Every Major Type Of Red Wine You Would Ever Need To Know

What Makes A Wine Smooth?

Person choosing a wine
Person choosing a wine - Jupiterimages/Getty Images

So, what makes a wine smooth? It's all about achieving the right equilibrium. Smooth wines typically have a moderate level of tannins and acidity, ensuring that neither component overwhelms the palate. This balance allows the wine to caress the tongue rather than grip it firmly. Think of it as the difference between a friendly handshake and a vice-like grip. The former invites you in, while the latter can be off-putting.

Smoothness is also closely tied to the quality of the winemaking process. Wines that are well-crafted and carefully aged tend to be smoother because the winemaker has taken the time to ensure that all the elements, fruit, tannins, acidity, and oak, are in harmony.

When you sip a smooth wine, you'll notice that it glides across your tongue, coating it with a luscious, velvety texture. The flavors are well-integrated, and there's a sense of ease in the drinking experience. Whether it's a supple merlot, a silky pinot noir, or a mellow chardonnay, smooth wines are your passport to an enjoyable and relaxed wine-drinking journey.

So, the next time you're savoring a glass of wine and marveling at its smoothness, you'll know that it's the result of a delicate balance of tannins, acidity, and expert craftsmanship -- a true testament to the artistry of winemaking and easy sipping.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.