“Minerality” in wine & how I learned from the German

When I was learning the systematic approach to wine tasting at wine school there was one descriptor term for white wines I quite struggled with – minerality. There was some debate about it at school among students, then I asked a friend who knows his wine (professional that is) and was told to imagine the flavour if I was sucking on a wet flat rock on the river… (Whattt?!) The US wine magazine Wine Spectator describes minerality as follows:

“Minerality is a tricky one to explain, but it refers to a group of non-fruit, non-herb, non-spice notes. Mineral notes can describe aroma or taste or both. Think of the taste of the sea that you get from crunchy sea salt or oysters. The smell of a sidewalk after it rains. Sometimes it’s like chalk—if you’ve ever stood next to a chalkboard, you know what I’m talking about. Sometimes it’s like crushed rocks or gravel. Saline and flint are other takes on minerality”

Obviously, I have no memories of ever sucking on any type of rock (let alone sidewalk after rain) and all my attempts to imagine how something like that would taste were associated with taste of chalk (memories dating back to primary school) and that’s the best I could do… Until now!

This week I met with the lovely Valerie who was visiting rainy and foggy London from the Italian wine heart Piedmont (btw, you have to check out her blog: http://girlsgottadrink.com). After having studied the wine list backwards (2 wine geeks spoilt for choice – no good 🙂 ) we decided to go for a dry German Riesling from Mosel, a 2011 Villa Huesgen Schiefer. One of the first things Val mentioned when we tasted it was – guess what – MINERALITY (my nightmare of wine descriptors!) So I sniffed and I tasted, over and over again, and all of a sudden it started opening up to me…

What comes now will most likely appear very abstract to you, my dear readers, but I will do my best to explain. In my opinion this particular wine had the minerality taste molecules connected (or bound) to molecules carrying fruit flavours. It was like they were holding hands being happily married..  And this happy marriage is what made the minerality shine through to me and become obvious! Maybe this is what wine geeks call “well-integrated” element which we often hear in regards to secondary aromas in wine, for example oak. Or maybe I should simply drink  Chablis more often to let my taste buds “practice” minerality. 😉

IMG_1111TASTING NOTE: dry with very high acidity levels, citrussy notes, stone fruit aromas (peach, apricot) bound with minerality. Very refreshing and easy to drink on its own (or maybe with some salted nuts), long lasting finish. This wine retails at around £10-20 across Europe. If you are interested in purchasing this wine drop me a line and I will be happy to help you source it.

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