**We’re talking acidity in wine here, so look elsewhere for music-festival party narcotics.**
Pull out your safety glasses, it’s time for an experiment.
(And by safety glasses, I obviously mean wine glasses, duh). This exercise requires you to drink wine (plot twist, wow isn’t that a surprise), so procure some ASAP. Doesn’t matter what it is, just needs to be wine that’s fresh. You could even have two different wines to compare, I’m just saying…
Got your wine in hand? Great! Now take a sip, swallow, and focus on the lingering sensation on your tongue after you swallow. Is your mouth watering? That’s acidity (it’s a good thing, don’t worry). If it feels like you need to chase with water or shove some cheese in your mouth, there probably isn’t much acidity in the wine.
[Side note: if you’re drinking a super tannic Cab Sauv, don’t mistake the tongue tickle for dryness. A super tannic Cab can also be very acidic. Focus specifically on whether or not your mouth waters/puckers, like the after feeling of your tongue when you suck on a lemon].
Repeat the exercise until you’ve grasped the concept (this could take you an entire glass… nay, an entire bottle to fully comprehend).
Here’s a quick explanation of ACID that will, like, totally blow your mind…
So what does acidity do, exactly? Balanced acidity perks up the palate, makes eating food even more enjoyable and just makes the overall experience of drinking wine pleasant.
Where does acidity come from? Good question. In a nutshell, wines grown in a cooler climate generally have higher levels of acidity (cold weather makes it so grapes don’t lose their acidity as they grow). In general, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Champagne, Sancerre, Sauvignon Blanc are just a few examples of wines that are high in acidity.
Wines that have higher acidity are generally great to drink with anything sweet, salty, and fatty (aka my ideal diet). Champagne + French fries, Sauv Blanc + oysters, Sancerre + macaroni & cheese. All amazing. Don’t just sit there, you crazy, order some Shake Shack cheese fries STAT.
One way to think of acidity is to compare a zesty lemonade to a glass of whole milk (hint: the lemonade is the acidic one). Now let’s pair both with a bucket of fried chicken. The lemonade will add new flavors and create a refreshing companion to the salty and dense chicken. Now, that’s not to say the milk wouldn’t be delicious with the chicken. The milk would add creaminess and richness to the chicken that the lemonade wouldn’t. BUT it would be a very dense and heavy experience, to say the least. Same thing goes with wine! Pairing the chicken with a glass of Prosecco (high in acidity) would open up the flavors of the chicken while a glass of Chardonnay from California (because of malolactic fermentation, a topic for another day) will give it a more buttery, rich taste. It’s all about personal preference, kids.
~FuN fAcT~ Sweetness decreases the sensation of acidity and vice versa. For example, Brut (aka dry) Champagne actually has residual sugar, you just can’t taste it because the acidity is covering for it. So if you think you’re getting Champagne without sugar by ordering Brut or Extra Brut, you’re wrong. It’s just the acidity and sugars balancing each other out. #TheMoreYouKnow