When reading recommendations about wines, you might notice the words "good acidity," and there are several reasons for that.
Acidity gives a wine a bit of lift and provides brightness to one that might be categorized as flat or flabby. It also helps balance out a wine's residual sugar content if it might otherwise come across as tasting too sweet.
But probably first and foremost, wines that are higher in acidity make excellent partners to pair with food. For example, pairing a high-acid wine with an acidic food, such as tomatoes, provides a nice complement by softening the overall astringency level.
Fatty meats such as salmon or duck, or heavy (and delicious) sauces that are laden with cream or butter, are also good options because the wine's acidity cuts through the fat content. That allows you to taste both the food and the wine, and that should be your primary objective matching any food with any wine - to maximize your enjoyment of each.
Acidity isn't the only element of taste one should consider when choosing a food-and-wine combination. Other factors include a wine's fruit flavors, sweetness and tannins, to name a few.
But acidity is, without question, a big player in the culinary game, and it almost certainly should weigh in on whatever pairing decision you make.
High-acidity white wines include riesling, sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc and pinot gris. Here a two such white wines from Washington worth considering:
Vin du Lac 2010 Grisant! Pinot Gris (about $17) is a refreshing white from the Chelan winery with fresh pear aromas and tangy green melon and citrus flavors, and a touch of tangerine on the finish.
Dynasty Cellars 2012 DCR Riesling (about $16) is a newly released, food-friendly offering from the Bellingham winery, and is its first white wine, ever. It displays viscous tropical fruit, pear and apple flavors, and a crisp, bone-dry finish. Only 90 cases were produced.
Red wines with higher acidity include pinot noir, barbera, and sangiovese. Two California pinots worth trying are:
Folie à Deux Sonoma Coast 2011 Pinot Noir (about $20). This represents the winery's first effort at this varietal, and it's a winner. Bright raspberry and red currant flavors lead off, with complex layers of cola, coffee, vanilla bean and a touch of earthiness on the finish.
Robert Mondavi Carneros 2010 Pinot Noir (about $27). This pinot is a bit darker, with blackberry, plum, subtle spices, and an almost velvety texture, if not for the slightly crisp finishing notes from the varietal's signature acidity.
Dan Radil is a wine enthusiast who lives in Bellingham. Reach him at danthewineguy.com.