Many friends have asked me how to differentiate between tannins and acids, on the palate. To put it simply, tannins gives you a ‘cheek-sucking’ feeling on gums, inner-side of your cheeks and the middle of the tongue. It is the same feeling you get from eating unripe bananas, pineapples and sometimes, tea. Too much tannins in wine is unpleasant, but you can 'soften’ them but pairing the wine with high-protein and fatty foods like cheese and meats. However, tannins helps a wine to develop complex flavours (what wine geeks called 'secondary flavours’ like chasis, barnyard, pencil-shavings, herbs …) overtime. Tannins are also the reason why some people add milk to their tea to 'soften’ them.
On the other hand, acids give you a 'I-have-a-million-needles-attacking-my-tongue’ feeling. Acids are more prominent in white and sweet wines, as compared to reds. Right amount of acids makes the wine feels 'refreshing’ and 'fruity’ (especially citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits). They are the ones that make some of you feel addicted to sweet wines, instead of you getting too sick of the sweetness.
Go now to drink more wines to feel the differences!