The component that contributes greatly to a red wine’s ageability is:

A. Alcohol

B. Tannin

C. Oak aging

D. The pH of the juice before it becomes wine


The longevity of a red wine is based on many factors, but the most important component is the wine’s tannin. Tannin is a natural preservative. All other things being held equal, wines with significant amounts of tannin live longer than wines without. Plants build tannins for protection, preservation, and defense. (Since Neolithic times, plant tannins have been used to prevent the spoilage of animal skins— when “tanning” hides into leather, for example). Consider a collector’s cellar. It’s usually filled with wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux— wines that have a lot of tannin and therefore have a good chance of living well into the future.

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