Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Salt with Wine? It Could Be Fine ...

Red Wine

I know, it just seems wrong - but according to a former chief technology officer with Microsoft, adding a dash of salt to your red wine can actually balance the flavors and enhance the aromas.

Adding Salt

Just a Pinch
Nathan Myhrvold discovered this little trick (predictably), after a few glasses of vino.  In an interview with Richard Vines of Bloomberg last month, Myhrvold claimed that just a pinch of salt can make most wines taste smoother. The concept is similar to why a cook adds salt to food: to enhance the flavors.

Margarita with Salt
And it’s the same reason why we add salt to margaritas – to squelch some of the bitterness and make the flavors “pop out” a bit more. Salt creates the perception of a sweeter flavor while covering up any bitterness, thus producing (to our taste buds) a more powerful taste.

And there is science to back this up, at least in the salt department. Simply put, sodium suppresses bitter flavors on the tongue while enhancing others. So say “bye-bye” to bitter tannins and “hello” to pleasant, savory wine flavors, and nice, approachable aromas. Just remember, the suggestion is to add salt in moderation and to taste. (So this could mean a different amount for each glass, and each drinker.)

Don’t expect winemakers to start adding sodium to their wines. And be forewarned: if you try this in front of any wine critics, fanatics or snobs, they will not be amused.

It’s just something to remember next time you have a red wine you’re not thrilled with; try a pinch of salt before chucking the glass. You might be pleasantly surprised.  As they say, may you be blessed with "salt that life may always have flavor" ... even in your wine!

~ Joy