Tannins: love them, hate them, matter of taste.

Tannins create a drying sensation in your mouth. Red wine, dark chocolate, black tea contain significant tannin.

Tannins are natural polyphenol compounds that exist in grape skins, seeds, stems, and oak. Red wines are tannic because reds become reds by soaking on grape skins, seeds, stems and usually age in oak.

Essential to great red wine, tannins are natural antioxidants, preserve wine and contribute to flavor. Wine connoisseurs embrace and parse tannic palate plays. Firm, fine, silky, chewy, granular, dusty, soft, rustic are some descriptors.

Tannins also add complexity and depth. They allow great reds to age for years or decades so other chemical reactions can do their magic.

Tannins can be civilized by exposure to air. It is the reason decanting red wine is often advised.

Cabernet sauvignon, petite sirah, tempranillo, cabernet franc, syrah/shiraz, petit verdot, carignan, mouvedre, sangiovese are some tannic grapes; how wine is made also affects tannins.

Notice the list of tannic grapes also is list of grapes that make many of the world’s greatest wines. It is perfectly fine if you do not like tannins and can’t imagine how any right-thinking person could believe mouth-puckering, tongue-drying, bitter-tasting stuff could possibly be considered delicious and worth a week’s wages. OK, fine.

May we suggest a nice white for you?

Some people are allergic to tannins and get headaches when they ingest tannin. A good test is to see if you get headaches when you eat dark chocolate or drink strong black tea. If you do, you may have a tannin allergy. If you tolerate dark chocolate and black tea, then there is another reason tannic red wines give you a headache. The most common reason is drinking too much tannic red wine.

Tasting notes:

• Becker Vineyards Iconoclast Fascination Red Wine 2013: Smooth drinker, laid-back tannin, mild acidity that will be liked by those who do not like bold reds. $11

• Clos du Bois Pinot Noir California 2013: Plush, medium body; nice-for-price commodity pinot. $14
• Bogle Phantom Red 2011: Very smooth, tasty; red blend folks not into red blends will enjoy. $18

Last round: I did not text you. My wine did.