While there are many rich flavours and features of a good wine, one that is too bitter is not going to be very enjoyable. Many people aren’t prepared for bitter flavours when they first venture into the unique world of wine. If you’re new to wine, you may want to consider the possibility that this is just the way wine is!
In ancient times, bitterness was a taste that alerted humans to the possibility that something may be toxic. It can take some time to get used to bitterness in wine. The more you try it, the more you may come to enjoy it.
There are a few tricks you can try to decrease the bitterness of a wine so you can still enjoy it. Here is a guide on how to make wine less bitter (and taste better):
1. Why is wine bitter?
The first step to decreasing the bitterness in your wine is understanding why it is occurring. Bitterness in wine happens for a reason. It typically means something went wrong in the winemaking process.
2. Bad tannins in wine
Bad tannins are caused by the over-exposure of the wine to the grape’s parts like skins, seeds, and stems. These parts contain the bulk of the tannins a wine would have, and are what give red wine its colour. Wines that give the tongue a drying sensation are high in tannins, and many times this is a good thing. However, the over-exposure of a wine to these ingredients can make it unenjoyably bitter.
Maceration is a method used to leech out the tannins from a wine. However, if over-maceration occurs, it could actually take out the tannins that would be wanted in the wine. This could cause the wine to become bitter and not enjoyable to drink.
4. Acidic and high alcohol
Another reason why a wine may be overly bitter is that it is either too high in acidity, or it is too high in alcohol content. One way to reduce the bitterness is to reduce the acidity which can be done by chilling it. It is pretty difficult to decrease the alcohol content of a wine, however. As such, it is probably better to focus on reducing acidity, or to try another method to improve the flavour.
5. Cover it up
Most of the taste experience that comes with drinking wine is actually from the scent. Common practice has wine drinkers decanting their wine to release the variety of aromas. However, if that scent isn’t very good, then it is better to avoid it altogether. You could drink it out of a glass with a narrower opening, or even drink it out of a glass with a lid (although that definitely takes the classiness out of it).
6. Complement the scent
Releasing aromas into your space that actually complement the wine will help bring out the flavours you want to taste while hiding the ones you don’t.
7. Sweeten the wine
Bitterness can be adjusted by working with the sweetness of the wine. To do this, add some grape juice to it – any grape juice you can get from the store will do. It will make the wine sweeter, reducing the bitterness.
8. Make sangria
Depending on the type of wine you bought, there could be many possibilities for experimentation. Mixing bitter wine with juices and fruits will make it a whole different drink, but it will also make it taste a whole lot better.
9. Add bubbles
Bubbles can tone down a bitter wine, as they mute flavours. Some people add cola or sprite to the wine – which will also add a lot of sugar. It is also possible to add sparkling water instead, which can still mute the bitter taste without adding too much sugar or flavour.