Hi I'm new here. I'd like to ask an unusual question: My wife had chemo for breast cancer four years ago. She now cannot drink red wine - feels extremely harsh in her mouth, whereas pre-cancer she could easily handle a glass or two. Her oncologist says it's because her taste buds have been damaged. I'm assuming it's the tannins that she cannot tolerate - whites are easier for her. I'd like suggestions for reds that have very soft tannins. Her onc suggested she has a glass a day. Ta Jeff
Reply to
Jeffrey writes:
Pinot noir? (From Oregon's Willamette Valley, or from the Russian River Valle in CA, or from Burgundy, of course.)
Also Tempranillo can be relatively low tannin.
Reply to
Doug Anderson
Mike Tommasi writes:
I'm sure it depends on the growing and the winemaking (at the very least) but my mouth tells me that a lot of the pinots that I drink are lower in tannins than wines like cabs or syrahs. (And certainly than pinotage!)
Plenty of acidity, but not so much tannin.
But most of the pinots I drink are from Oregon, and occasionally Northern California. So I shouldn't have offered an opinion on Burgundy perhaps - maybe it is different there.
And I'm not including wines made from obviously unripe grapes either.
Reply to
Doug Anderson
Hi Jeff,
We've been through the situation. Of course the first thing is, congrats on getting to year 4 after the treatment without needing more chemo.
It's common for chemo to throw of the "taster." Especially if it involves Taxol or one of the other products with a high occurrence of peripheral neuropathy. This happened to my wife Adele also. In Adele's case things gradually came back, but not to the palate she had before, and sometimes she'll say a good bottle tastes off or oxidized, but a little later it seems fine.
Really, if she doesn't currently care for red wine, it would be better to stick to fruit juice or some other drink. Or white or pink. If red was a pleasure before, it may take more time to come back, or never come back. Gamay-based wines like Beaujolais might be worth a try, or just don't sweat it. A small loss considering the alternatives, right? :)
Reply to
Emery Davis
I don't know where you are, but in some parts of the US there are winemakers using a hybrid grape called Chambourcin. It has no tannins at all, in my experience.
Reply to
Dan the Man
Besides Gamay (Beaujolais), Barbera tends to be fairly low tannin. Tempranillo and Sangiovese as a rule are less tannic than say Cabernet or Nebbiolo. But all of these wines have a range of styles, and probably range of tannins (and of course there are wood tannins as well as grape). Rose is a pretty good way to ensure no perceptible tannin.
Reply to

One way to seee if tannins are the culprit is to ask your wife if tannic black tea also tastes harsher now.
Unfortunatley the reaction to red after this therapy is not uncommon - a friend some years ago ended up selling his red wine collection after chemo.
Reply to
Martin Field
Many thanks to all for your suggestions. Will certainly take heed. I assume the low tannic wines will have lower health benefits, no? J
Reply to
My wife started chemo almost exactly 4 years ago, so we are probably just a little bit behind you in the recovery cycle. Her taste buds also evolved post-chemo and we have been having this very conversation for the past 6-12 months or so. In her case,I don't think it is tannins, per se, that cause problems, but she finds highly acidic wines unpleasant. Overall, she now prefers softer, fruitier wines (both red and white). Not necessarily fruit bombs, but rather wines that I find slightly out of balance. This has led both of us to explore new styles, as my buds have not changed. I will say that she is much more tolerant of acidic wines when consumed with food than she is when simply drinking a glass of wine by itself, so I haven't had to completely give up old habits. But in any case that's a small price to pay for the pleasure of sharing any time with her.
Reply to
Casey Miller
Exactly. I almost made that point earlier, but hesitated because I am not a medical doctor and do not see it as my place to give medical advice.
I'd discuss the issue with the doctor to find out why wine was being recommended, and if your wife does not like the style of wine that woudl be effective ask if there are alternative ways of getting the health benefits. Another option is just to drink the wine anyway - there are worse medicines than an overly tannic red wine as I am sure your wife can testify.
Reply to
Steve Slatcher

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