Do you miss drinking wine? Frustrated with the acid burn? If you struggle with acid irritation, look for wines grown in warmer climates (i.e. California) rather than cooler climates (i.e. France). Warm climates help grapes lose more acid as they ripen. Acid levels are also influenced by grape varieties and fermentation methods.
White wine grapes are golden in color and produce light colored juices. These wines tend to be fresh, fruity with identifiable fruit characteristics. Look for varieties that have some residual sugar and a mellower, sweeter taste. Chardonnay is the most popular white wine in the USA. It has low to medium acid levels. It is considered a full-bodied wine that can have a strong fruity character. Gewürztraminer, Riesling and Muscat are generally sweeter wines that can be lower in acid. Sweet rather dry white wines are generally more interesting and appealing.
Sauvignon and Fumé Blanc are medium bodied wines that can have a citrusy or melony flavor. Unfortunately, they are higher in acid. Chenin Blanc is a very neutral, clean, fresh white wine that could also have higher acid levels. It can have an extreme fruity flavor because it is rarely put in oak barrels. It wouldn’t be our first choice for acid sensitive people to try.
Aged red wines are typically more mellow and less acidic than younger red wines which will tend to be initially more astringent and acidic. Red wines generally have very similar acid and alcohol levels so it’s really more about finding an aged wine with a flavor that you enjoy. Merlot is a soft, mellow wine that can have berry, plum and raisin flavors. We think this is a good first red wine to try if you struggle with acid sensitivity and are not histamine sensitive.
Pinot Noir is a medium-bodied wine known for lush fruit flavors, as well as some earthiness, vanilla and even chocolate flavors. Syrah or Shiraz is a medium-bodied, fruity wine with hints of berry, chocolate, licorice, mocha, pepper, raspberry and other spices. Zinfandel is typically a higher alcohol wine known for its fruit, pepper and spice aromas. Cabernet Sauvignon is a heavier, complex wine that can have notes of currant, berry, plum and cherry. Normally aged in barrels, it can have woody or smoky flavors. Port, the most common dessert red wine, is rich, thick and sweet. It is fortified with brandy, giving it one of the highest alcohol content among wines.
Now that you’ve found some low acid wine possibilities, try them out. Start with a small amount, such as a 1/4 glass and see how you feel. Wine “on the rocks” is another way of reducing residual acid, or perhaps a wine spritzer made with sparkling water (without a slice a lemon or lime). If your acid symptoms strike then that particular wine may not work for you. Be bold and try another!
Another way of reducing overall acid and alcohol level is by making a wine cooler. Both red and white wines make very refreshing coolers on a hot summer evening. Simply use 1 part wine to 3 parts of a low sodium mineral water (i.e. San Pellegrino) or regular water with plenty of ice.
Did you know that Prelief can help reduce the acid in wine to make it more tolerable? Two caplets of Prelief will reduce up to 60% of the acid in 4 oz. of Chardonnay. Three tablets will reduce up to 80% of the acid.