You know that mouth-puckering feeling you get when you take a sip of a particularly zingy wine? Well, that’s acidity — sometimes referred to as ‘brightness.’
Wines with higher acidity taste more tart, and while it’s more likely that you’ll experience higher acid in a white wine such as sauvignon blanc or riesling, acidity also plays a big part in reds.
So where does acidity come from? It’s inherent in certain grape varietals (like the ones mentioned above), but it can also be heightened or tempered by the environment in which the grapes are grown. Hotter climates and longer growing seasons tend to produce riper wines, which show less acidity. Cooler climates and shorter growing seasons, on the other hand, tend to help the grapes retain their natural acidity and produce brighter wines.
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