Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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bitterness, one of the primary tastes (see tasting) which can be detected via taste buds mainly on the tongue in many wines even if it is not as common as sweetness and acidity, and is often confused with the quite different tactile sensation of caused by astringency. Many Italian red wines are relatively bitter, as are some less successful examples of particularly aromatic grape varieties such as Gewürztraminer, typically because of an excess of phenolics. Poorly seasoned oak can also make a wine taste bitter. Many flavoured vermouths, notably Punt e Mes, are deliberately very bitter. Sweetness can help to mask bitterness.