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Acidity in Italian Wine – How Can You Control the Acid Levels?

In an absolutely perfect world, winemakers would always take great measures to control the acidity levels of their wines. After all, acidity is often one of the factors that people use to determine if a wine is of a decent quality.

A wine with little to no acidity isn’t going to go over well, especially if you’re looking for that refreshing burst of energy that an Italian white wine can give you. But on the flipside, an extremely acidic wine isn’t really wine at all.

It can end up tasting like vinegar instead.

Of course, the vast majority of winemakers make sure that their wines are in perfect balance.

But there are so many factors that could affect the acidity of a wine that are outside of the producer’s control.

For example, the way that you store the wine could have an effect. Poor storage could lead to the quality of the wine getting compromised, which leads to the pH level dropping.

And then you have those wines that simply didn’t turn out the way the producer had hoped. Or, you may simply not have the palette for a more acidic wine.

Whatever the case may be, you want to bring that acidity under control

We’re going to share a few ways for you to do just that.

Technique #1 – Add Water/Ice

Yes, we can already tell that some of you are screaming sacrilege at this suggestion right now. You’re telling us that you should never add water to wine. And ice is a pretty contentious middle ground too. You can just about let people get away with that one, in some wines. But you can’t help but feel that the ice will just ruin the wine as well.

We understand where you’re coming from but there’s also something that’s undeniable about water…

It dilutes things.

And in a wine that has a high acid content, a small dash of water may be all that you need to bring the wine back under control.

Now, we’re not saying that you need to fill the glass with water here. Often, it’s only going to take a dash of water to bring the wine under control. And if the balance is almost there, ice allows for a slower dilution of the acid so that you can get the wine to where you want it to be.

Either way, a little bit of water could be the perfect solution to the acid problem, in a pinch.

Technique #2 – Blend Two Wines

This is a more complicated technique than the one above. However, it will probably yield better results for all of the purists out there.

If you have a glass of wine that’s not quite right when it comes to its acidity, you could blend it with another type of wine in an effort to balance it out.

There are a few things to keep in mind here.

First, you’re definitely going to have to experiment here. With so many wines out there, you’re not going to be able to just research a perfect ratio to hit with your blend. You’ll just have to keep mixing until it tastes right.

Second, you cannot blend white wines and red wines. That just creates a crazy mishmash of flavours that you’ll hate. Acidity will be the least of your problems because you’ve just created a wine that nobody would want to drink.

And third…you need to understand flavour profiles.

It’s not quite as simple as mixing a white with another white or a red with a red. Every wine has unique notes and flavours that you need to take into account. If you’re mixing, you either need to use two of the same wine (such as two Chardonnays) or two different types of wine that have a similar enough flavour profile for you to not wreck the wine completely by mixing.

Technique #3 – Use Tartaric Acid

This is the solution that will likely work best if the wine isn’t quite acidic enough. If you’re looking to achieve a lower pH, Tartaric Acid is the most natural option out there.

You’ll need to have a pH monitor on hand to keep an eye on exactly how much of the acid that you add and what effect it has. But this is definitely the best option.

The problem with other types of acid, such as citric, is that they often go through malolactic fermentation. This causes the acid to alter the taste of the wine completely, rather than simply helping you to adjust the pH level. That’s because the fermentation causes the acid to become acetic acid, which alters the volatile acid content of the wine.

As a general rule of thumb, you’ll need about 0.1g of Tartaric Acid per litre of wine to achieve a pH shift of 0.1.

Technique #4 – Acid Reducing Crystals

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is a product out there that’s specially designed to help you to overcome this specific problem.

Acid reducing crystals do exactly what they say on the tin. You add them to your bottle of wine and the crystals will neutralise a portion of the acid.

The problem is that you get a little bit of a residue left behind. The neutralisation process creates tartrate crystals, which you will need to remove before you can enjoy the wine. This isn’t always the easiest of processes, especially if the manufacturer hasn’t provided you with a means to remove the crystals.

The Final Word

As you can see, there are a few things that you can do if your Italian wine doesn’t have the level of acidity that you’d like it to have.

But in all cases, you’re going through a bit of trouble to get a result. And the wine may still not taste brilliant after you’ve made your adjustments.

Perhaps it’s best to buy a wine that’s already in balance instead of trying to fix one that isn’t.

That’s where Xtrawine can help you. Check out our huge collection of international and Italian wines today.

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