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The question

I have bad acid reflux. What are some low-acid red wines I should seek out and some high-acid ones to avoid?

The answer

I’ve received this question before regarding white wines. That’s not surprising given that whites generally are higher in acidity. But as you clearly realize, there’s acid in red wine, too, and this can be a problem for people who suffer from chronic heartburn when stomach acids migrate up into the esophagus.

Some less-acidic red grape varieties include cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec and syrah (or shiraz). Among the high-acid red grapes to avoid are gamay, barbera, nebbiolo (of Barolo fame) and sangiovese.

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But there’s another way to slice it. Higher-acid wines, regardless of grape variety, tend to be more strongly associated with cooler climates. This includes not just obviously colder places such as Niagara and New York State but also much of France (except sunny northern Alsace and the Mediterranean south), northern Italy, Germany and Austria. As an easy rule of thumb, your best bet is to stick with such New World places as Australia, Chile, Argentina and California, where vineyards tend to be planted in consistently sunny zones. The only caveat is that warm-weather wines usually are higher in alcohol, and alcohol has been shown to stimulate stomach-acid production. If you’ve got serious or chronic gastric trouble, by all means consult a doctor.

Beppi Crosariol will once again be participating as The Globe’s wine expert on the July 2019 Globe and Mail Seine River Cruise. For details on how to reserve your cabin on this voyage down the Seine from Paris to Normandy visit GlobeNormandyCruise.com.

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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