Acids often get a bad rap. Acid tongue, acid rain, LSD, etc, and they also turn litmus paper red, remember?
Some are corrosive, like hydrochloric, nitric, sulphuric; others are gentle, organic, like malic, lactic, citric, tartaric.
The last four are vital in winemaking.
It’s all about flavor balance and elegance, from sweet fresh-picked grapes to crisp well-made finished wines. Some grapes and wines always pack an exciting buzz that prickles and cleans your palate. Their healthy acidity also wards off harmful bacteria and helps the wines age well.
In warm regions, winemakers add a little tartaric, citric or malic to freshen a super-ripe harvest and avoid flabby wines.
In cool areas like Ontario that’s not necessary. Good examples are two terrific white wines from Chateau des Charmes.
First, the 2014 Old Vines Riesling, LCBO 277228, $18.95. This was among the first varieties pioneer Paul Bosc planted in Niagara and the grapes are from vines at least 20 years old. Crisp and unoaked, refreshing and delicious with an Old World aroma of flint, hints of white grapefruit and a ton of tangy lime zest (92)!
Equally, the 2016 Aligoté, a truly rare single variety in North America, is a great alternative to Chardonnay for the summer, LCBO 296848, $15.95 (91). Nuances of Granny Smith apple, Anjou pear and wet stone.
Oh, and that great zippy acidity!