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All the Terms Used to Define Tannins (Infographic)

Found in tree bark and grape skins, tannins are compounds that protect plants from predators. In wine, they present themselves in an array of ways.

Tannins can contribute an astringent sensation to wine and create a drying sensation in your mouth. They change over time, mellowing with age and evolving in tandem with elements like acidity and alcohol.

Both white and red wines have tannins, though the latter tends to have more due to longer contact with grape skins and seeds during the winemaking process.

To learn more about how to identify and classify tannins in wine, consider this infographic of common descriptors.

How to describe tannins wine terms
Infographic by Lani Kemp

What Do These Terms Mean?

Certain words take on meanings and connotations when they’re used to describe tannins in wine.

Grippy: Immediately noticeable

Integrated: Perfectly in line with all other components, like flavor and weight

Silky: Fine-grained and unobtrusive

Plush: Soft and integrated

Velvety: Soft but with subtle grip

Resolved: Smooth, no longer astringent, typical of mature wines

Harsh: Not integrated into the wine