A good red wine has just the right amount of tannins, said Dave McIntyre in The Washington Post. “Without tannins, red wines can be flabby and fragile.” But too many tannins make a wine taste bitter, like “a sucker punch to the mouth.” Tannins are contained mostly in the skins, stems, and seeds of a grape, and are most noticeable in such red wines as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Nebbiolo. Merlot and Pinot Noir tend to have fewer tannins. Here are three nicely aged red wines that strike the right balance between tannin and fruity flavors:

Christian Moueix St. Emilion 2005 (Bordeaux, $25) A Merlot-Cabernet blend that shows “classic Bordeaux styling” and earthy tannins.

Provenance Vineyards Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (Napa Valley, $45) “Gorgeous, from first sniff to final sip.”

Thorn-Clarke William Randell Shiraz 2005
(Australia, $54) A wine from the Barossa Valley with “jammy blackberry” flavors and “a long, rapturous finish.”