Day 22

Temp Note: Enjoy well chilled (remove from the fridge and crack it open!)

Don’t be afraid of the can; the juice is delicious. And don’t be afraid to pour it into a wine glass (if you’re a snob like me).

A LONG NOTE ABOUT ACID & PH

Sea Pearl Sauvignon Blanc is classic Marlborough style; a bit of pink grapefruit, a hint of green bell pepper, and a crisp finish. Since the wine is pretty straight forward, we wanted to nerd out a bit about a key component in wine….ACID. See below.

Sauvignon Blanc can be ALL citrus and moderate to high acid… So, what is the role of acid in wine?

Throughout the growing period, winemaking process, and post-bottling, acid is present to allow for chemical stability and to inhibit unwanted bacteria growth. Furthermore, as you drink, the acids in the wine activate your salivary glands creating saliva that wets your palate. (This is why food and wine are such great accompaniments!) The balance of acid and tannin is particularly important in tannic wines which tend to dry out your palate.

 

Can you measure acidity in wine?

Acid levels in wine can be measured in grams per liter and by measuring the wine’s pH.  Wines that are sweeter can mask the acidity of a wine. Think about tasting Coke vs a raw lemon – they both have a pH of 2.5 but the lemon will make you pucker. This is due to the sugar balancing the acidity in the Coke. Now compare this to sweet German Rieslings and dry Rieslings from France or the US. Vastly different profile but similar in acidity. The pH of wine tends to be between 3 and 4 with most falling around 3.6 pH. Next time you enjoy a red wine that is lighter in color, observe how acidic it is – it likely has a lower pH than a wine that is very deep in color.

 

What impacts a wine’s acidity level?

Some grapes are naturally high in acidity. The sugar levels at which the grapes are picked can also have a massive impact on the pH, acidity, flavor compounds, and phenolics of a wine. In warmer wine regions, you may find that some growers will harvest earlier to have a wine that is more balanced – as the grapes ripen, sugar is created and acidity decreases. Whereas, in cooler regions, harvest may be weeks later allowing late ripening grapes, like Riesling, to thrive.

 

Soil type can also affect acid production in the grape vine. According to Tim Atkin, Master of Wine “High-pH (alkaline) soils, such as chalk, encourage the vine’s metabolism to produce sap and grape juice with a relatively high acid content. The continual use of fertilizers has lowered the pH level of some viticultural areas in France, and these are now producing wines of higher pH (less acidity).” 

https://timatkin.com/cork-talk/a-wine-lovers-guide-to-vineyard-soils/  (Nature can be so fascinating!)

Finally, certain processees that occur in the winery can adjust the acidity and pH of the final wine. If a wine is flabby, a winemaker may choose to add a little acidity back in through a process called acidification by adding tartaric acid, citric acid, or an acid blend post fermentation and filtration of the yeast. When acidification is done before the yeast is removed, the added acid may be converted to acetic acid, which would give the wine off aromas and flavors. This form of manipulation is not allowed in some appellations. Conversely, if the winemaker wants to raise the pH and soften the acidity, then the winemaker may put the wine through malolactic fermentation. 

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