Wine, like life, is all about balance. Balance remains the best possible way to achieve a delicious a human life. Humans and wine, we’re the same, man, we’re all connected to each other and the stars and the space-time continuum, and all that jazz. Oh, look, a shooting star. Was that me? One of my molecules from my previous life shooting across the literal skyscape of my current reality?
Oh, this week’s wine tasting is about acidity, not LSD. Let me start over . . .
Wine, like life, is all about balance. Balance between the structural elements of a glass of wine can determine whether it tastes tart and stringy like a sour cherry or fat and jammy like a jelly donut. Balance is the part of wine we get to enjoy when we drink it—this has nothing to with swirling and sniffing. It’s the harmony of tannin and alcohol and sugar and acidity titillating the palate, and it’s the most important consideration when pairing food with wine. Acidity is the most exciting.
The pH of wine falls between around 2.5 to 4.5, basically from a Coca Cola (pH of 2.3) to coffee (pH of 5ish), but because pH is a logarithmic scale that means that the most acidic wines are over 20 times more acidic than the least acidic, so the range of acidity is massive. The perception of acidity depends on context. If a wine has a lot of sugar or a lot of tannin or a lot of alcohol (or all three), even if the wine is high acid, it won’t seem that way. While tasting today (and hopefully after today) use this little blind tasting trick to judge acidity. After you take a sip, hold your mouth slightly open and pay attention to how much your waters or doesn’t water afterwards. If the wine is very acidic, your mouth will adjust its own pH by watering, and returning it to equilibrium. Try it, and cheers . . . man.