Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

minerality is a description of that sense of place


Don Giovanni
 Share

Recommended Posts

I think minerality is a description of that sense of place ... one does not taste minerals ,ever, no matter what... ions as you mentioned , yes ... the wine gives off a unique fingerprint of that sense of place that sometimes corresponds to the thought of minerals used as descriptors...only a fool without a real science education would argue that they taste actual rocks...

while not bashing the wine reviewers although I did once and was kicked off her board (a different story for another day ) ... it's the reviewer that goes to the site and observes the dam rocks ... this I am sure adds to the sense of place but it is expressed so many times in a confusing way... as in ..I taste the wine and the expression of the schist soil makes me want to chew the rocks... I have read this so may times that the consumer gets confused and thinks they can really taste that soil ... they do taste the influence of the soil I am sure , but rocks no way... so it's the reviewer that conveys this premise and myth ... doing so unintentionally I am sure, as they know better..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Minerality is not at all a myth. If you want to taste it, get a Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio and you will clearly taste the volcanic rock that characterizes its soil. You can taste it both in the white and the red. This has nothing at all to do with confusion between sense of taste and sense of place. I've tasted lots of people on it, non-experts all, and they can clearly taste it. Some find it off-putting; I've had some red Lacryma that, for me, is undrinkable because it literally tastes way too much like rock.

But minerality also affects the mouthfeel of the wine too. A Pinot grigio from Alto Adige is very neutral in flavor and light bodied, but the minerality of the soul in which its grown give it a heaviness on the tongue that makes it feel more viscous. The effect is similar in mineral waters. To give some concrete examples, compare a Pinot grigio from Alto Adige and one from the Veneto (which will have less minerality) and you'll see the difference.

When it comes to minerality, sometimes you have to look for it but it's there. Some times it quick literally smacks of drinking rocks.

So to say that wine tasters who talk about tasting rocky soil or the sensation of minerality are actually mistaking their sense of taste and are actually talking about some vague idea of "place," isn't really true. This idea perpetuates the unfortunate notion that what wine tasters talk about are just vague notions dressed up in sensual certainties that aren't really there. What's really true is that you can detect these things with the senses. I'm sure there are a lot of snake oil salespeople out there selling an impression of wine that isn't true. For many wine professionals, it's a business and they are out to make money and promote their means of making money. But just because some people misuse a term like "minerality" doesn't mean that you can't actually appreciate the minerality of a wine. In fact, I think it's a pretty important aspect of some, though not all, wines.

nunc est bibendum...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you want to taste it, get a Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio and you will clearly taste the volcanic rock that characterizes its soil.

No you won't.

What you will taste is the impact the growing conditions have upon the vines and the fruit, and therefore the finished wine.

You might perceive that as the same flavour as the soil; and, in fact, growing on this kind of soil may give certain characteristics that are not found from the same variety and clone growing on other soils.

However, what you will not be able to taste is the soil itself in the finished wine.

Itinerant winemaker

Follow me on Twitter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you want to taste it, get a Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio and you will clearly taste the volcanic rock that characterizes its soil.

No you won't.

What you will taste is the impact the growing conditions have upon the vines and the fruit, and therefore the finished wine.

You might perceive that as the same flavour as the soil; and, in fact, growing on this kind of soil may give certain characteristics that are not found from the same variety and clone growing on other soils.

However, what you will not be able to taste is the soil itself in the finished wine.

Perhaps I was being unclear. No, you won't "taste the soil," whatever that even means if taken literally. You will taste the impact of the soil on the wine. This impact can be accurately characterized as having "minerality," especially in the case of the Lacryma Christi. You will taste the volcanic rock: this is a shorthand way to say you will taste the impact of the volcanic soil on the wine. Clearly, you are not literally drinking bits of the soil (if this is what you thought I meant).

Minerals are present literally in wine though. Calcium, Potassium, and Iron seem to show up particularly. I would guess that when wines are grown in soil high in chalk and limestone, higher concentrations of calcium are going to make it into the wine. The presence of these minerals is as close as you're going to get to "tasting the soil."

edited for grammar

Edited by Alcuin (log)

nunc est bibendum...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yep, sorry, I think I got the wrong end of the stick with what you were saying; but it's amazing how many people believe you can actually taste the soil in the grapes.

I do realise that minerals are present in wine, but (to use your example) you won't get higher concentrations of calcium in wines from vines grown on a highly calcareous soil. That's not the way that porting and translocation of minerals works.

What you will get is grapes that ripen later and have lower sugar level and higher acid content than those grown on a sandy loam (for instance). (mostly due to the alkali nature of calcareous soils and the affect it has locking some nutrients away from vine accessibility)

Itinerant winemaker

Follow me on Twitter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yep, sorry, I think I got the wrong end of the stick with what you were saying; but it's amazing how many people believe you can actually taste the soil in the grapes.

I do realise that minerals are present in wine, but (to use your example) you won't get higher concentrations of calcium in wines from vines grown on a highly calcareous soil. That's not the way that porting and translocation of minerals works.

What you will get is grapes that ripen later and have lower sugar level and higher acid content than those grown on a sandy loam (for instance). (mostly due to the alkali nature of calcareous soils and the affect it has locking some nutrients away from vine accessibility)

That makes sense. From what I understand, wines can often have high calcium levels but I'm not sure how that works and why one might have a higher mineral content that another. I've read a few journal articles about it, but I'm no scientist after all. This is something I'll keep looking into though.

And you're right, when people talk about wine what they say often makes no sense. There's a lot of half baked notions out there about wine, which is really too bad.

nunc est bibendum...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

one more perspective ...

this is expressed by Portuguese winemaker Dirk Niepoort

in some circles we come to find the opinion that "minerality" comes from the decencies of the must due to the inability of the land or "terroir" to fulfill the needs of certain nutrients of the must AKA juice once crushed... becoming the signature of that vineyard... another cause he thinks is reduction in some cases due to the lets say one example sulfur treatments done late... the residues in the must influence fermentation, producing some reduction...

source page 211 Authentic Wine by Goode and Harrop a great book full of exciting ideas and science...

wouldn't it be something if some minerality is reduction ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...