Wine lovers usually have a favourite kind of wine. Whether yours is sweet, dry, white or red, don’t always stick to the same one. For example, have you tried a sour wine? We don’t mean a vinegary wine that’s gone off, but a perfectly blended bottle with a hint of tang.
Sour flavours are becoming more commonly accepted, with the popularity of products like kimchi and sourdough increasing all the time. Adding sourness to your food can add another element to the overall flavour profile and can turn something good into something great. But when it comes to sour wine, traditional perceptions have been against it.
Sour wine wasn’t always popular
Not long ago, if someone said their wine was sour this would be seen as a defective bottle. But today, fine wine aficionados know that calling a wine sour can be a sign of praise. It’s all about balance. Wines with a hint of sourness are delicious, as long as the sour flavour doesn’t override everything else.
As with every other flavour combination, the sourness in wine must be balanced with other elements, whether sweet, minerally or fruity. The Basque country produces some very good sour wines, such as Gorka Izagirre Txakoli 2018, which is a dry white wine with a bracing mix of grapefruit, saltiness, crisp apples and sourness. This is a refined version of the plentiful sour Txacoli wines available in this region of Spain, all of which pair nicely with fresh seafood dishes.
Here are two other sour wines that are worth trying if you like this kind of flavour profile. And if you’ve never tried a sour wine before, give them a go anyway! It’s always good to expand your wine collection and try something new.
Simpsons Chalklands Classic Cuvee, Kent, 2016
Perhaps unsurprisingly another wine region known for its tangy wine is England. Thanks to a traditionally cold and wet growing climate, grapes have sometimes struggled to ripen leading to some distinctly tangy English wine. This results in a wine that tastes like a very sharp gooseberry and can only be an acquired taste.
But even with warmer growing seasons, even the most refined English white wine tends to have an acidic tingle not found in warmer climes. As with all other wines with a sour tint, this is only enjoyable when it’s balanced out by other flavours. With UK wines, it’s just one element of some truly wonderful sparkling white wines. This sparkling wine from Kent has a distinctly energetic tanginess balanced with the flavours of ripe apples.
Burlotto Dolectto d’Alba, Italy 2018
Some of the best red wines with added sourness come from Italy. Winemakers in Italy understand that sourness can work well to freshen the mouthfeel of a wine, and as a base for all the other elements of the wine to circulate. This is why many Italian red wines have that slightly sour tang to them, which is often reminiscent of cherries that are just ripening.
This dolcetto from Burlotto is packed with the sweet and sour flavours of black cherries, which give it a lovely vibrant quality. Other excellent Italian red wines that come with a tang include barbera wines from Piedmont, such as the Barbera d’Astu 2016 and Barbera d’Alba 2017.