Pairing Principle: Acidity

Important wine pairing tip on bottom

Acidity in wine, also know is crispness in wine is an essential component in pairing food and wine.

Wines high in acidity are know as “crisp wine.”

When it comes to food pairing, acidity plays two roles: cleansing of the palate and balance.

Food Pairing: Balancing Acidity
Think of it this way: If you have foods high in acidity, you want pair wine equally high in acidity. When you match acidity levels in wine and food they actually cancel each other out which allows you to really notice that natural flavors.

So, if you have foods with high levels of citrus or acid such as lemon or tomatoes you want to pair wines that cancel out.

What are examples of pairing food and wine based on acid? Tomato sauces and Chianti.

Chianti paired with Tomato sauce works so well because Chianti has high acidity.

I don’t want to turn food and wine pairing into chemistry, but there is a reasoning for this. You need to think of the PH levels.

E.G. – If you have a food that is high in vinegar and a wine that isn’t high in acidity it will make the wine what we call flabby. Flabby wine just feels kind of lifeless or bland. So, if you have food with high vinegar levels you want pair wine high in acidity.

Crisp wines cleanse the palate
Wines high in acidity cut through rich foods. Think of pairing crisp wine with creamy dishes or crisp wines with cheese.

Rich foods coat the mouth which can make it hard for other flavors to break through. The acidity cuts like a razor through cream, cheese or anything else that coats the mouth.

White wines with high acidity:

  • Riesling
  • Chablis
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Champagne
  • Sparkling Wine
  • Muscadet from Loire Valley a.k.a. Melon De Bourgogne

Red Wines high in acidity:

  • Chianti (grape is Sangiovese)
  • Brunello Di Montalcino (also sangiovese)
  • Pinot Noir
  • Rioja (grape is Tempranillo)

Wine Tip: Many other reds like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon can have high acidity, but can also be high in tannin. Tannins do not pair well with salty dishes.

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