Acidity is one of the 3 basic tastes present in wine.
The word makes it sound a bit barbaric and not something very qualitative.
Acidity is the word we use in the wine world to describe the sour taste.
It is important to look at each taste in isolation as well as in relation to the other tastes.
So what does acidity taste like?
The simplest way is to think of lemon juice.. or biting into a lemon.
Well we have our palate that’s awakened, that’s brightened and feels cleaned.. Our glands then rapidly create very liquid saliva.. you kind of get the impression of having your palate cleansed with fresh water.
Of course you will not feel acidity of that intensity with wine, it’s going to be more subtle and it’s also going to be muddled up with the other tastes and with flavours.. so it’s not always super easy to focus on this single taste.
How do we rate it?
To examine the acidity of a wine, we’re going to taste it and mark in on a scale of 0-10 or from low to high..
Whatever scale you prefer, imagine water being a 0 or a super low…
Then for the other end of the scale we have lemon juice as a 10 or an off the scale high.
So where would you situate the acidity of the wine?
If it is low, of course, you can describe the wine as having low acidity, but the ideal way to describe it is as “flabby”.
Then moving up the scale we have a “fresh” wine which has medium acidity, after that we have “crisp” which is between medium and high and then “zesty” for wines with a high acidity.
Is acidity good or bad?
The acidity in wine is super important!
Firstly for matching with food.. originally wine was made to sit alongside food. And with food, the acidity of a wine is very important.
It’s going to cut through the fatness of certain dishes and refresh the palate, and it is also going to blend perfectly with acidic dishes.
But that’s not all. Acidity is also essential for ageing a wine.
As a wine ages, it’s acidity slowly decreases.. If you want to enjoy a wine with a bit of age, it’s going to need good acidity to start with. Or you’re going to end up with a flabby wine.
Plus this acidity is an anti-oxidant which means it slows down the ageing process.
No acidity, and your wine will age super quick and become undrinkable very quickly.
So here’s to acidity!