Basic wine characteristics: sweetness, tannin and acidity

Learning about wines is impossible without getting a grasp of their fundamental traits. There are five of them and you are certainly aware of some of them even if you have just started your wine journey. Undeniably, you know about such crucial characteristics of any wine as alcohol, sweetness or acidity. The list also includes tannin and body.

This article will help you to understand some of these features better focusing on tannin, sweetness and acidity. Knowing more about them will allow you to choose great wine on the market.

Wine sweetness

It is not difficult even for an untrained person to understand whether a wine is sweet or not. The perception of sweetness starts right with the first gulp of wine at the very moment one’s tongue touches the drink as this is the part of the tongue where the receptors of sweetness are located. That is why the very first thing you can understand about wine is its sweetness.

That is why, if you want to understand the sweetness of the drink, you should be attentive to the sensations on the tip of the tongue. The next time you will be trying dry wines, pay attention to the tingling sensation in this part of the tongue and you might find that many dry wines actually have some sweetness. This makes such drinks more full-bodied.

By the way, even though it might be obvious for a person whether a wine is at least a bit sweet or not, there are so many factors affecting the perception of sugar, that exact understanding of the amount of sweetness might not be thus simple.

Other things to know about wine sweetness

As you have already learnt, sweetness creates tingling sensation. Yet, this is not the only sensation you will feel. Pay your attention to an oily sensation which can occur in the middle part of the tongue.

You can also predict a higher amount of sweetness in the wine by its viscosity. The more sugar there is in the drink, the higher the viscosity is. This can be noticed by the way wine is moving on the side of a glass. In such a case the motion will be pretty slow.

Wine acidity

Even though acidity is also a pretty obvious characteristic of a wine, sometimes it can be confused with the taste of the alcohol itself. As a rule, wine featured by higher acidity also appears as lighter-bodied. For that reason, if your find wines richer in taste more appealing, you should avoid the drinks with high acidity.

Other things you need to know about wine acidity

Acidity can also be felt as a tangling sensation, however, it is focused on the sides of the tongue as well as on its front part. While rubbing the tongue on the mouth roof, wine acidity can feel gravelly. Acidity also makes the mouth feel wet.

Wine tannin

Tannin is what makes your mouth feel dry while having wine which can make you mistake it for the level of dryness itself. In the reality tannins are phenolic compounds which make some whines taste a bit better. These chemical substances are coming from wine seeds and skins. It is also possible to make wine become richer in tannin by letting it age in oak wood.

In order to understand better the exact taste of tanning, you should imagine tasting a bag of black tea on the tongue. Actually, there is a very high amount of tannin in a used bag of black tea.

What else should you know about tannin?

You can find tannin called astringent and it might give an impression of a negative descriptor, tannin is essential for balancing the taste of wine. In addition to it, tannin is a natural preservative of wine which allows it to last for a longer time. When it comes to red wines, tannin is regarded to be more of a positive trait.