Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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polymerization, the molecular process in which smaller molecules combine to form very large molecules. In all living material, the simple amino acids combine, or polymerize, in very large chains to create the proteins, some of which function as enzymes. In ageing wines, simpler phenolic molecules combine to form larger tannin polymers and pigmented tannins which eventually grow so large that they fall from the solution as sediment.