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Acidity in wine

It's one of the easiest flavours to perceive in a glass of wine. Do you know which one we mean? Exactly! Acidity. Learn about all the secrets behind this flavour and why it’s so important to us. A new episode of WineClass is here! 

As always, we’ll teach you a fail-safe trick to detect it in any kind of wine. Let’s get started! 

Wine tastings get better the more we know about the secrets of the wine world. And there are a lot of them! We took a look at all there is to know about the visual and smelling stages of a tasting. But we know that the tastings stage is definitely one of your favourites.  

In today’s WineClass, we’ll be discussing one of the most characteristic flavours in wine: acidity. Learn where acidity in wine comes from and a simple trick to detect it. Don’t forget to watch episode then of El Coto de Rioja’s mini wine lessons. Hit play! 

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Why is wine acidic?

As you may have noticed before, when sampling a wine, specifically a white wine, you pick up on an acidic or acidic flavour. Have you ever wondered what causes that acidity?  

As with most other flavours, this acidity comes from a natural source, specifically the grapes. When they are crushed, we get a juice made up of different types of organic acids, as well as other substances and phenolic compounds.  

There are many types of acids in grape juice, but there are the main types, and each of causes a completely different sensation in the mouth. They are: 

  • Tartaric acid: the hardest and most structured 
  • Citric acid: the one that gives it is freshness 
  • Malic acid: more metallic 

We should point out that some acidity in wine comes from the fermentation process. 

What does acidity do in wine

Acidity is a crucial feature of any wine, for two main reasons. 

Firstly and most importantly, acid has a protective function, since it protects wine from certain bacteria that could harm it. As such, only wines with a certain level of acidity can last over time.  

But that’s not all! Acidity also has an organoleptic function. Specifically, it’s what makes wines fresh and balanced. As such, its balance with the rest of the flavours is crucial for creating quality wines, such as one of our own delicious Rioja wines. 

How to tell if a wine is acidic

There are different ways of knowing or guessing at the acidity of a wine, even before you try it. Here are five basic tips for easily spotting an acidic wine: 

  1. Red wines are always less acidic than white wines or rosés. But that doesn't mean that there’s no acidity in red wine.  
  2. Acidic wines are livelier. 
  3. Think about the type of grapes: some are more acidic than others Sauvignon Blanc or Viura de Rioja. 
  4. The riper the grape in the wine, the greater the concentration of sugars, making the wine less acidic.  
  5. The soil in which the vines grow also affects the acidity. If the wine is from a cold zone, it will probably keep more natural acids than wines from warmer zones. 
Discover the fresh acidic kick in our wines
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Sabor ácido en vino

Tip for finding the acidity in wine

As you know, the taste buds are what help us to perceive each of the flavours. What area of the tongue is stimulated by the acidity in wine? It’s easy: the sides of the tongue, behind where we notice saltiness 

The simplest way to do this is with our own wine. We used El Coto Blanco, a zingy fresh wine with citrus notes, which is just what we need for this test. 

Just swill the wine around in your mouth, specifically on the sides of your tongue. Spit the liquid out, lower your jaw and open your mouth. You’ll see where you’re salivating more than normal. This shows that you’re drinking an acidic wine. 

Do you want to go back over any classes? You can find all of the WineClass episodes on the El Coto de Rioja YouTube channel. If you don't want to miss any new posts, don't forget to click on the bell icon. 

Until then, take a look at some more fun facts about the world of wine with the content on our blog. Here’s a little recommendation: 

Decanting wine, what does it involve and why do we do it??