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Minerality in Wine


Coverage by Janice Robinson of a recent seminar in London.


An interesting read, but as inconclusive as the event itself.

Will try and gather my thoughts while waiting for Rhône EP to appear :roll_eyes: but curious to know what everyone else thinks on this elusive concept.


Interesting article thanks for sharing .


For what it’s worth, I use the term a lot when trying to describe wines, white wines particularly, but like most descriptors tasters employ to try and describe wine it’s purely an impressionistic term. Like cherry, cassis, sous bois, leather, polished furniture, whatever, etc. Obviously, nobody’s suggesting that wine actually contains these things it’s just the impression it happens to leave on one’s senses.

Sometimes I’ll go even further by prefixing it with likes of stony, smoky, chalky, etc to try and make that impression clearer but in reality they’re just feeble references that might mean something to me personally when I read back at a later date ( as an aide memoire for prospective buying usually ).

I had a wine yesterday that I might lazily describe as ‘full of minerality’. When in reality those ‘fresh mineral flavours’ are almost certainly derived from the lees the wine sits on whilst maturing.

The video you posted of batonnage was fascinating and may have influenced my response !


This thread had some interesting discussions about the elusiveness of wine descriptors, if anyone is interested.


LOL ! Sap and wet stones, yes, I’ve used those terms. Crushed ants and synthetic modelling clay, no !!!

One day I hope to find a Riesling whose aroma goes beyond petrol or kerosene and into the realm of burnt two stroke oil. I’d probably buy a case.


“No man means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous.” Henry Adams - US historian.

Think this quote, dredged up for somewhere, is apt especially when describing sensations.



OMG!!! Wrong on both counts!! :scream:

EDIT - sorry, I faltered after the first sentence… Old Richard is perfect for the job :smiley:


Yes, I did wonder how acceptable that bit was in the current climate. Take it down if you think it wll offend. In the context of the whole Posh Nosh episode the character’s Freudian slip is very easy to miss.


It doesn’t offend me, personally - and in the context of British humour it’s pretty normal. It’s hard to call with rude humour sometimes, but I’m sure if someone is offended they will let you know or flag it.


There’s no one more apt when it comes to describing the finest wines known to humanity !


And you can then ignore them…it’s as Inbar says…along the lines of ‘I love babies…preferably boiled’ which is of course a take on the Jonathan Swift paper over 200 years ago.


He doesn’t even drink anymore … I fond it quite funny :rofl:


If you found it funny, you would probably like the rest of the short series from which it is taken: Posh Nosh. It’s all on youtube - from memory there are 8 x 10min episodes - also starring Arabella Weir.


Great . thanks Steve


A longer read, but one that really tries to pin down the term.

Gets quite technical in places, but makes the strongest case for the descriptor that I’ve seen.


I think Szabo’s introduction is mostly very good. I particularly like the idea that it is OK to use metaphors, but some metaphors are more physically based than others.

But what he seems to miss is that the total mineral (anion) content of wine is generally well below the taste detection threshold. This is largely because however great the mineral content of the soil, the vine roots will not take up more than the vine needs (I would lazily cite Alex Maltman for this, but I am sure Maltman would point to more-original sources).

I take Szabo’s point that sea salt may blow onto some vineyards to give a salty flavour, and agree that could be regarded as terroir, but it is a rather isolated and trivial example of terroir, and not what you normally think of in terroir discussions. And it raises the question of whether smoky flavours due to wildfires is also terroir - probably not, as I think it is normally regarded as damage. Or how about nearby eucalyptus trees imparting a eucalyptus flavour? There is a stronger case for that, I think.

Anyway, it was an interesting article - thanks for posting.