Technique

Minerality in Wine

Terms such as “mineral taste” and “minerality” have entered the modern wine lexicon and into common usage probably by traditionalists in an attempt to link the equally ill-defined concept of terroir to wine flavors and aromas. The terms often appear, for example, in tasting notes of Riesling wines and the Chardonnay-based Chablis wines of Burgundian fame where limestone-laced vineyards produce wines described as tasting minerally, rocky or steely with aromas of (gun) flint, as if these aromas and flavors come from the rocks and soils.   Alex Maltman, a professor at the University of Wales has offered science-based explanations disproving any plausible connection between mineral taste in wine and minerals in the vineyards, at least not in any simple and direct manner.   Maltman describes the complexities of geological minerals, such as feldspar found in vineyards and which makes up as much as 60% of the Earth’s crust, and their extremely low cation exchange capacity as to make any exchange between minerals and vine roots virtually non-existent. The tiny and diverse mineral content in juice also undergoes substantial changes during