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quote:
Originally posted by spo:
I always think of acid being sour and tannin being bitter. Can a high concentration of acidity or sourness be perceived as bitterness? I had this wine last night and it had a slight aspirin like quality that I am not sure if it is tannin or acid.

Help!!!!

I think you have it right... tannin isn't bitter though... bitterness is one of the basic tastes... tannin is more of a feeling. Astringent might be a better word to describe tannin. A simple test to show the difference between bitter, and astringent would be tating a drop or two of bitters...and then steeping some tea for an excessive amount of time. While the tea will have a little bit of bitterness, the tannin will leave your gums and cheeks feeling astringent.
You'll notice that same atringency in some white wines as well...hope that helps!
I associate acidity with that sharp, mouthwatering sensation in the centre of your mouth. As someone else said, tannin is that drying sensation at the edges of your mouth. Alcohol levels are judged by the amount of "heat" in your mouth, particularly at the back or in the throat. Body is a general mouthfeel i.e. water vs. syrup (two extremes which should never be reached in your wine!)

I would also say that neither bitterness nor sourness is typical to any of these descriptors noted above. I would suggest that bitterness or sourness would be a characteristic of a particular wine i.e. a separate flavor component.

Might sourness come from excess carbonic macereation? Or from unripe grapes?
Last edited by starv100
quote:
Originally posted by StarV100:
I associate acidity with that sharp, mouthwatering sensation in the centre of your mouth. As someone else said, tannin is that drying sensation at the edges of your mouth. Alcohol levels are judged by the amount of "heat" in your mouth, particularly at the back or in the throat. Body is a general mouthfeel i.e. water vs. syrup (two extremes which should never be reached in your wine!)

I would also say that neither bitterness nor sourness is typical to any of these descriptors noted above. I would suggest that bitterness or sourness would be a characteristic of a particular wine i.e. a separate flavor component.

Might sourness come from excess carbonic macereation? Or from unripe grapes?


Acid is definitely sour. A balanced wine might not seem particularly sour, but perhaps "juicy," or "racy." But when the acidity is over-the-top, it's conspicuously sour.
Generally, acid makes your tongue curl. Tannins will leave your mouth/gums with a coating dry sensation, not too disimilar from having "cotton mouth" in the morning when you've imbibed too much.

Drink some orange juice or squirt some lemon juice on something and taste. Very acidic.

Black tea is a great example to figure out tannins. Steep the tea for a LONG time - way longer than you normally would. Take a sip (add no milk or sugar) and you'll quickly see the tannins.
Well said, spacewrangler. Also note that the perception of sugar, acidity, alcohol, and tannins are all inter-related. For example, increasing residual sugar decreases the perception of acitidity (inverse relationship) but enhances the perception of alcohol (direct relationship). These relationships work both ways (in other words, increasing acidity makes a wine seem less sweet). There is also a direct relationship between tannins and acidity and an indirect relationship between tannins and residual sugar. The ideal (100 point) situation is to have a complex wine where none of these factors stand out (balance). Of course, we all have different thresholds for perception for all of these factors. Therefore, one person's 100 point wine might be another person's 90 pointer.
In my experience tannin is more of a sensation as mentioned previously, but you'll notice in some tasting notes the term "bitter tannins". Personally, I often experience the drying sensation of really strong tannin as leaving a penetrating bitter flavor. Black tea certainly is bitter in flavor also, so I would have to slightly disagree with the jist of this thread and say that tannin in more concentrated forms does have flavor and it is bitter.
quote:
You learn something new everyday. Can you please expand on this point or possibly provide a link to where I can read more about it.

I took a weekend long sensory evaluation of wine class at UC Davis. This was material from the sylabus. I think that the source is from reasrch done at UC Davis and elsewhere. The class is really cool and definitely worth while. They have added an intermediate class that I am interested in taking.

To expand on the point - increasing tannins increases the perception of acidity (and visa-versa) and increasing RS decreases the perception of tannins (and visa versa).
Last edited by redguyinabluestate
quote:
Originally posted by spo:
I think I am in trouble guys. I had Beaujolis tonight and it tasted bitter. I there is something wrong with me. I wonder if it is that moon that that grunhauser talks about. I go through phases where I open multiple bitter red wines, then multiple good ones. Confused


Do you have a cold or have you had one in the last ten days?
Acidity gives the wine a certain tartness, especially if there is too much acid.


Tannins gives the wine the mouth drying feeling. Too much tannin can give a bitter sensation, but most wines do not have that level of tannin. Whenever I drink tea at a Chinese restaurant, I drink it without sugar. The first 3/4 of the glass is pleasant, but at the bottom of the cup when you start getting into all the tea leaf sediment, it does get quite bitter. So tannin and bitterness is all a matter of degree. If a wine had so much tannin as to be frankly bitter, it would most certainly be an abberation.

Sour is a somewhat vague term, and is used differently by different people. To many, sour is synonymous with tartness. To others, sour imples an almost rotten quality, like "sour milk".
quote:
Originally posted by Red guy in a blue state:
To expand on the point - increasing tannins increases the perception of acidity (and visa-versa) and increasing RS decreases the perception of tannins (and visa versa).


Thanks, now that you mention it, I seem to remember something about it in "The Taste of Wine" by Peynaud; time to pull that maginificent tome out again.
quote:
Originally posted by Spenser:

Acid is definitely sour. A balanced wine might not seem particularly sour, but perhaps "juicy," or "racy." But when the acidity is over-the-top, it's conspicuously sour.


True enough. As you imply, I wouldn't associate acidity with "sourness" if the wine is balanced. If the acidity of the wine is so pronounced that it gets the descriptor "sour" then in my opinion, the wine is flawed.
quote:
Originally posted by spo:
I always think of acid being sour and tannin being bitter. Can a high concentration of acidity or sourness be perceived as bitterness? I had this wine last night and it had a slight aspirin like quality that I am not sure if it is tannin or acid.

Help!!!!


You said it has an aspirin taste. For what it's worth aspirin is just an acid - acetylsalicylic acid specifically.

- David

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