BASAL FLAVOR: ACID
Is acidity and Ass?
I’m going to answer this one right off the bat! No! If (enjoying) wine is your life, one of my nearest friends has a tattoo of a wine glass on her liver (and she’s not in the wine industry) you should appreciate acidity more than you probably do! Even if you’re not at the level of appreciation as my anonymous friend Kerry, there would be no wine without this lovely A-word.
When most of you think of the word acidity you probably think Sour! Which instantly has a negative ring to it. Wine consists almost entirely of acidity… Even sweet wines (at least the good ones) will have higher acidity then residual sugar (aka sweetness), to create a balanced product. The mouth is overpowered by it’s perception of sweetness but there is always high acidity to back it up! If you notice how you salivate even when drinking even a sweeter wine, that is the acidity in your wine furnishing that reaction.
When I teach I usually refer to acidity as the backbone of wine, without the acidity, none of the other parts would make sense, or be able to stand on their own.
As for combining Acid with Acid, same as with Sweetness, Acidity diminishes the perception of Acidity. Acid removes acid. When I teach basal flavor tastings the first bite we take is a lemon wedge, and then immediately taste a Sauvignon Blanc after that, the Sauvignon Blanc is almost strictly acid so once you remove the acid by biting the lemon and habituating your tongue to acidity, there’s nothing but a flavor of slightly sweet water left! Acid+acid= no perceived acid!
If a friend at your table is sensitive to acidic wines, just hand them a lemon wedge to drizzle over their food, or nibble on if they’re brave. Now you don’t have to be an ass either, serving your friends wine that they don’t like, you can manipulate what they perceive!