The definition of “acid” doesn’t exactly evoke images of rolling hillsides covered with grapevines.
From Encyclopedia Britannica: “Any substance that in water solution tastes sour, changes the color of certain indicators (e.g., reddens blue litmus paper), reacts with some metals (e.g., iron) to liberate hydrogen, reacts with bases to form salts, and promotes certain chemical reactions (acid catalysis).
But in the world of wine, high-acid wines make the best pairing partners for food, and Italy’s Piedmont region produces exceptional high-acid wines across the board.
Sometimes referred to as the “king of wine,” Barolo is the most powerful wine of Piedmont, possessing engaging floral aromas and ripe red fruit flavors. Barolo can age for decades, and by law may not be released until it has been cellared by the winery for three to five years.
At the other end of the spectrum are wines made in the Barbaresco appellation, which combine richness with elegance. Much less tannic than Barolo, Barbaresco can be enjoyed at a much younger age.
Both Barolo and Barbaresco are made with the Nebbiolo grape, and a side-by-side tasting can illustrate how differently the same variety can “show” based upon where it’s grown and how it’s treated in the cellar.
One can partake of a similar experiment with the Barbera variety. In Piedmont, Barbera from the Asti appellation (Barbera d’Asti) can be beautifully structured and fairly powerful, whereas Barbera from the Alba appellation (Barbera d’Alba) tends to be more elegant and rich.
The wines of Piedmont are ideal for grilled fare as their acidity counterbalances the char of the grill. But if the beginning of grilling season is still a few weeks away in your part of the world, a cheese board and your favorite charcuterie will do just fine.