Vibrant Minerality

minerality in wine

Mineral is a word often used to describe a wine but do many of us actually know what is meant by this? It is not easy to explain. Most often used to describe white wines that are usually dry, light and fresh with crisp acidity, the mineral flavours express themselves as chalk, wet stone, steel, slate or even a salty, saline quality. It is attributed to various soil types that have a particularly stony profile such as slate, flint or the famous limestone soils of Chablis and is most prominent in cooler climates. As to why this happens and what creates minerality remains under debate as the notion that a plant's roots can absorb the actual flavours of the stones and soils and transmit these flavours through the fruit seems somewhat unlikely, and the minerals found in the soils are detected in such low quantities in the final wine that they are also very unlikely to affect the flavour.

Many winemakers follow the unwavering belief that minerality is a product of the terroir and others believe that it happens in the winery and is a product of fermentation, much like the aromas described as positive reduction that are proving to be a bit of a wine trend in the new world’s cooler regions. These aromas are often described as gun barrel or struck match and were of particular note at the New Zealand tasting we visited earlier in the year. The reductive aromas are certainly a product of the winemaking and not the terroir and are an intentional result of limiting oxygen contact throughout the winemaking process. If pushed too far the aromas can become unpleasant but when obtained through skillful winemaking can give the wine an extra dimension of minerality and further complexity, adding a distinct vegetal, agricultural quality that seems to be a highly sort after trend of current new world winemaking.

These mineral qualities can be extremely pleasant to experience in wine, adding lift, elegance and complexity to wines. The best wines to experience minerality are cooler climate whites, particularly Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs in cool climates as the fruit profile is lighter and more orchard and citrus focused.

We have selected the very best wines that are rich in abundant minerality.

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