Log In / Join Now

Ask Dr. Vinny

Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...

Dear Dr. Vinny,

I read your recent answer to "velvety tannins," and I have a tannin question of my own: What do they mean by "ripe tannins," especially when your answer said "tannins are something you feel, not taste"? Ripe seems to be a taste feature, such as a ripe banana (or any other fruit) tastes much different than an unripe fruit.

—Gerardo A., Pasadena, Calif.

Dear Gerardo,

I believe that ripeness is something you can feel as well as taste. Ripeness is more than just flavors getting sweet—there's a phenolic, physiological ripeness that occurs too. To take your banana analogy a step further, if you've ever bitten into an unripe banana, you get both a green, tart flavor and a crunchy texture. Crunchy banana = unripe. Likewise, as grapes ripen, their tannins get softer and more supple.

—Dr. Vinny

Wine Basics

We break down the basics—how to taste, serve, store and more. Plus:
» Maps of major wine regions
» Grape variety characteristics

How-to Videos

Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more

Wine Spectator School: All courses are FREE for WineSpectator.com Members

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.

Browse our course catalog
Check out the professional wine sales and service courses
Learn Wine Forum: Got questions? Get answers

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 365,000+ ratings.