Winetology Wednesday: Preachings from Wine Evangelist Jonny Cigar
Today’s Sermon: “Acid Trip”
Remember that acid trip you had when your taste buds went numb, your vision blurred, your speech slowed and whatever you were eating (bacon something) it tasted, “like way better than ever,” which is what you said to no one there?
I’m not talking about LSD. I’m talking about the real good stuff – the stuff acid was made for – I’m talking about acid in wine: Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chassagne-Montrachet, old sport. And that particular acid trip came with 14.7% alcohol. Well done. Now, look:
Frank Sinatra sang, “What is this thing called love?” and Dean Martin replied, “Man, if you don’t know then we’re all dead.” So, with respect to wine, what is this thing called acid? And would we all be dead if we didn’t know much about it? No, but: without it wine and food would not go together like a horse and carriage. Let’s discuss:
Acidity, in perhaps its most recognizable form is in lemons and it is what tastes sour, making you all puckered-up. Try this: go get a lemon, squeeze it into your mouth and notice 1) how your mouth feels 2) where you feel the thing you feel and 3) how suddenly your mouth begins to water, like an upscale sprinkler planted in Beverly Hills, kicking in at twilight. That is acid, and it gives life to wines, makes them refreshing, spunky and dynamic.
Grapes grown in cooler climates (think the Mosel Valley in Germany) tend to produce higher acid wines than grapes grown in warmer climates (think the Napa Valley).
On your path to wine righteousness it will be very important for you to know the difference especially when ordering wine to pair with a meal. Here’s a rule of thumb: the acid in your food should match the acid in your wine. Things like tomatoes, citrus fruits and vinegars can overpower a wine, so aim for a high-acid wine that will preserve the quality of the flavors and compliment your dish.
I’m feeling a bit zippy so just for fun I’m going to re-write that last sentence using musical analogies:
Things like Guns N’ Roses, Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Rolling Stones can overpower a wine, so aim for Jimmy Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, or Led Zeplin to preserve the quality of flavors and compliment your acid trip dish.
Last bi-weekly recommendation was the 2009 RED C Cabernet Sauvignon from Covenant Winemaker Jeff Morgan. Jonny’s take: I love this wine but I’m terrified to say anything about it because I’m visiting the winemaker next week and he used to write for the Wine Spectator. I’m no fool. It’s damn good, that’s all.
This week’s Winetology Recommendation is: 2010 Val de Mer Chablis 1er Cru from Burgundy (France) retailing at about $38 per bottle and will probably be the most expensive white you’ve purchased in a while – go for it, treat yourself. Look for it at your local wine shop via wine-searcher.com.
Swirl often, savor, and above all think after you drink.
-Jonny Cigar, Wine Evangelist to the Stars