Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
I have been studying wine for nearly 30 years and am still baffled by some of the descriptions used by tasters. Question: What are "round tannins"? Versus what? Square tannins?
—Bill C., Waterville, Maine
Wine lovers might wax poetic at times, but their intention is rarely to sound obscure or to baffle someone with their descriptors. Tannins, as you may know, are the mouth-puckering group of compounds found in the skins, stem and seeds of grapes, as well as in oak barrels. Tannins give wine backbone and structure. Because of the balance of tannins with other components, such as sweetness, body, and acidity, this sensation can seem smooth and round. Other times, tannins stick out and can seem coarse, rough or chewy.
Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...
Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more
Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions