ASK IWG: How Tannins Are Felt in the Mouth

P. Greer from Novato, Marin, USA asks the following:

Where in the mouth are different tannins felt? Grape skin/stem versus oak?

Thanks for your question!

Tannins typically attach down the tongue.  For most people, oak tannins attack the first third of the tongue and grape stem tannins attach the back (actually they can constrict the esophagus). As grape tannins become more intense they can also attack the teeth and gums. Grape skin tannins are much 'softer' and typically only attack the back of the tongue.

All tannins are also an astringent, so in addition to showing varying degrees of bitterness they also 'dry' out the mouth.  Grape stem tannins are the worst (most astringent), while skin and oak are less astringent and about equal.

Let us know if we can answer anything further,

Tynan Szvetecz, EWS, SWI
Master Candidate

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