Some of us with sensitive stomachs notice very quickly when we drink a wine with a high acid content. Heartburn becomes noticeable immediately. That's why many Rosé fans ask us, does the pink nectar of the gods have a lot of acidity or a little acidity?
This question is complex because many factors determine how much acid a wine contains or not. Sometimes we don't think the acidity is that strong and are surprised when we read the values. When the wine is chilled, you can taste the acidity much more intensely than at room temperature, which makes red wines, for example, appear to be rather low in acidity (but they aren’t). Another factor that influences the perception of acidity is sweetness. The more residual sweetness or sugar there is in the wine, the less we taste the acidity. Conversely, the more acid in the wine, the less we perceive residual sweetness in the wine. This means that we perceive acidity most quickly in dry and chilled wines.
But how does acid get into wine? On the one hand, this simply has to do with the time of harvest. If the grapes are harvested earlier, when they may not be fully ripe, they will have more acidity. In some cases, the grapes do not ripen fully due to the climate, which is more of a risk in northern wine-growing regions. One of the most important factors is the grape variety itself. There are grape varieties that naturally have more acidity, such as Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc for white wines or Sangiovese (Chianti) for red wines.
But what about Rosé?
The grape variety, the wine-growing region and the time of harvest also play a role here. Grenache is the main grape variety for Provence Rosés and is naturally low in acid. Hence the good news: Rosés from Provence average between 3 and 3.5 grams of acid per liter (H2SO4/L), which is very low.
All Provence Rosés are also dry, with less than 4 grams of residual sugar, which means a high acidity would quickly become very dominant and unpleasant. Given that you always drink Rosé chilled, a higher acidity would quickly appear as “too sour”. Balance is very important here and is the focus in Provence like in no other Rosé wine-growing region.
In summary, one can say that Rosés from Provence in particular are a safe bet if you prefer dry and low-acid wines. Rosés from Germany, for example, usually have a significantly higher acidity.