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Food & Wine I love white wine, but acid bothers me. Which whites are least acidic?

The question

Acid bothers my stomach but I love white wine. Which whites are least acidic?

The answer

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It's tough to be definitive, because acid content depends to some extent on the growing region and winemaking style, but in general you might want to consider chardonnay, gewürztraminer and viognier, to name three.

Acid reflux can be a serious issue for some people. It's important to keep two things in mind: All wines contain at least some acidity because they're made from fruit. They also contain alcohol, which studies have shown can increase the amount of acid produced in the stomach. If you have gastrointestinal concerns, I'd suggest checking with your doctor.

But if you're searching for a smoother, less tart profile to test your comfort level, other lesser-known varieties worth a look include marsanne, roussanne and grenache blanc. Like viognier, these grapes are closely associated with the underappreciated whites of the Rhône Valley and can be found, in varying combinations, in blends labelled Côtes du Rhône as well as Châteauneuf-du-Pape, among others.

That said, wines from warmer vineyards in such places as California, Australia and Chile tend to contain lower amounts of acidity (though often higher alcohol). In the case of some whites, notably chardonnay, producers will permit the wine to undergo a natural process known as malolactic fermentation, which turns hard malic acid into softer, more buttery lactic acid – mitigating the harsh sensation you may otherwise feel when sipping, say, a high-acid variety such as riesling or sauvignon blanc, or a tart sparkling wine.

Adding confusion to your search, some producers in warm climates will tweak their wines by adding acid back into the mix to achieve a fresher profile (yes, the practice is permitted in many regions). Figuring out which wines contain more or less acid can be enough to give a person heartburn.

The Flavour Principle by Lucy Waverman and Beppi Crosariol (HarperCollins) won top prize for best general English cookbook at the 2014 Taste Canada Food Writing Awards.

E-mail your wine and spirits questions to Beppi Crosariol. Look for answers to select questions to appear in the Wine & Spirits newsletter and on The Globe and Mail website.

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