Ever wonder why the first sip of a Red wine tastes incredibly smooth whereas a few seconds later, you taste the exact same wine again and it’s bitter, living this dry sensation at the back of your mouth?
It turns out we have saliva to thank for that. Proteins in saliva bind with tannins (compounds found in grape skins, seeds and stems that give Red wine its colour and flavour profile) and precipitate out. The result of this is that saliva no longer has its lubricating qualities thereby leaving your tongue feeling dry. Red wines’ astringent taste comes from this.
The same principle is again found when you pair a juicy steak, or red meat for that matter, with a tannic Red. In this case, the tannins bind with the meat proteins thereby making the wine taste less rough as your saliva can now carry out its duty. This makes the wine taste much smoother.