Tasting Components (3 of 4)

I’d almost forgotten about this series. It’s been since March of last year and it’s time I picked it up again. You may recall, we’d previously discussed salt in lesson 1 and sweet in lesson 2.

Today, we will talk a bit about sour. In wine, you’ll hear this referred to most often as acid. This might be the easiest to explain to people where you sense sour. Go bite a lemon. Go on, I’ll wait.

Back? How was it? Tart, I’m sure. And you felt that sting in the sides of your tongue and the back corners of your mouth, making your cheeks hurt didn’t you? My work here is done.

Acid in your wine is NOT a bad thing. You need acid in your wine to keep it in balance.  Think about it this way. Cheesecake is really good on its own, but more often than not, you’ll serve it with some fruit on top like strawberries or cherries. Without it, the creaminess of the cheesecake weighs you down quickly. The acid provides balance, and so it does in a glass of wine. The most appealing way that it’s put is “crispness.” Everyone likes a wine that’s “crisp,” but not so much when it’s described as “acidic.”

Of course, you’ll taste acid in various levels depending on the wine. Try a comparison between a sauvignon blanc and a chardonnay. The sauvignon blanc will be tarter (crisper) than a creamy, buttery chardonnay. The sauvignon blanc will be better on a hot summer day for this reason, while the chardonnay might match better with a salad or fish.

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One thought on “Tasting Components (3 of 4)

  1. CollegeOenophiles February 28, 2011 / 7:04 pm

    This is really helpful! Starting out describing wine, it’s hard to know exactly what words to use to help people to understand the exact flavors. We need to go back and read the rest of the series for more info!

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