A Toast to Virgin Palate

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By Jonathan Dioniso | October 2008

Aside from cake cutting and bouquet throwing, guests and the couple themselves are excited about the wedding toast. The newly wed entwine arms while sipping a glass of wine from each other’s hand to signify a healthy life. This history-rich beverage makes any celebration, weddings in particular, special and extravagant. Whether taking a Pinot Noir, Cabarnet Sauvignon, or Chardonnays, anyone who indulges in it experiences its known benefits. But for brides (even grooms) who are unaccustomed to wine, this may pose a problem or even lead up to a wedding disaster.

In an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Jock Tulloch, a fourth generation winemaker from Australia, said most Filipinos believe that red wine is more sophisticated than white wine, and thus, red is more appropriate for grandiose occasions. The problem of reds is it gives unease to one’s unacquainted taste buds due to its strong dose of tannins.

Tannins, anyone?
Tannins are chemicals usually found in plants such as grapes. Herbivores experience interference with digestion when they eat plants containing tannins since they receive it in its purest form. Plants have this to prevent animals from eating them until ripe. Once the plant fruit, for example has ripen, tannin content decreases and it becomes more edible.

When enhanced and moderated, tannins give wine its distinct flavor and aid in its preservation. It is the tannin content in red wine which causes the dry, puckery aftertaste neophyte wine drinkers experience when they drink it.

Modest options 
If red wine remains the top priority or the only wine available for your wedding, the best option is to find one that does not have high tannin content.

Wine is classified according to its ‘body type’ or simply body. Wine body would mean the mouth feel or sensation it gives to the mouth when drank. Since wine contains tannins, different level or volume of tannins gives distinctive feel on the palate.

Red wine could be described as light, medium, or full-bodied – light bearing the least tannins and full containing the most. According to oenophiles (lovers of wine), novice drinkers can easily determine the body of a wine by trying to compare it with other liquids like milk or water. The thicker it feels in the mouth, the higher the tannins and the ‘bigger’ body. The lighter it feels, the lesser the tannins.

An example of a light-bodied red wine is Beaujolais Nouveau. Made in the Beaujolais region of Burgundy, France, this is made from Gamay grapes found in the said region. This offers a light and fruity taste when taken.

No need to flip coins
If one or both bride and groom are novice wine drinkers, white wine would suit best because of its natural sweetness and is easier to swallow. It contains less tannin, and thus, reduces the unusual feeling encountered by first timers. Also, white wine most often complements the taste of Filipino cuisines which makes it ideal for Filipino wedding banquets.

But whether red or white, what is important is to know what the couple and guests can drink and make sure that they get to enjoy their precious wine up to the last drop. After all, it is there to make their wedding celebration more meaningful.

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Moral, Cheche. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Sweet and easy intro to wine drinking Retrieved October 9, 2008
http://showbizandstyle.inquirer.net/lifestyle/lifestyle/view/20081008-165358/Sweet-and-easy-intro-to-wine-drinking

OChef.com. What are Tannins? Retrieved October 9, 2008
http://www.ochef.com/197.htm

Slinkard, Stacy. About.com. An Introduction to Red Wines. Retrieved October 9, 2008
http://wine.about.com/od/redwines/u/redwinebasics.htm

Shea, Lisa. WineIntro.com. Body – Wine tasting Term
http://www.wineintro.com/glossary/b/body.html

Slinkard, Stacy. About.com. An Introduction to White Wines. Retrieved October 9, 2008
http://wine.about.com/od/whitewines/u/Whitewinebasics.htm

Terroir France. Gamay. Retrieved October 9, 2008
http://www.terroir-france.com/wine/gamay.htm

Wikipedia.org. Tannins. Retrieved October 9, 2008
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tannin

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