Sunday Read: Minerality. A Reductive Phenomenon?

Let’s get all science-y this Sunday and explore the topic of minerality. It is one of those buzzwords that winemakers as well as sales people and wine drinkers love to throw around. In that context, it is usually used with slate-y soils that somehow are supposed to translate into minerality aromas in the wine.

The Wine Doctor looked into that in September and starts out by pointing out that that is most likely not the direct cause for this aroma to appear. His take in this post is that it might be connected to reductive winemaking practices. The connector to soil is that he believes these chemical reactions are more likely achieved in wines from rather rocky soils. So there is a connection, but no direct link.

While I have no clue about chemistry (literally: I got an F in every single term paper I wrote in chemistry and dropped it as soon as I could), I did appreciate this article and how it was explained. While the mystery of what is minerality remains, I know I sure enjoy it when I find it!

Have a great Sunday!!

The Wine Doctor: Minerality. A Reductive Phenomenon?

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9 thoughts on “Sunday Read: Minerality. A Reductive Phenomenon?

  1. Thanks for the link, that was a neat bit of edumacation! Cheers!!

  2. I won’t delve into the long list of reasons why, about 5 or 6 years ago, I swore off reading wine magazines and wine descriptions. But when I recently ventured back into occasionally and selectively listening to a few words about wine. I’m blaming you, Oliver, for making me decide that I could bear, once again, and I’m glad you convinced me even though you weren’t trying to–I’ve met some really fine people.

    But opening my ears to the current wine chatter, I found this new buzzword minerality floating around. When I checked out of wine description, the concept of minerality was seldom used. My spell checker doesn’t recognize it as a word. And although I do understand the tongue-sensation the term, when properly used, refers to, I have to acknowledge this:

    Although buzzwords are bound to happen, especially with wine, I still don’t like them. They start out their lives useful and utilitarian, handy and unremarkable as a simple coffee stirrer, but then they become trendy. And that’s when they metamorphose into buzzy, droning things, as annoying as pesky sweat flies whose purpose in life seems to be to light on your eyelashes and zip around in your ear canals.

    • Oh, my. That wasn’t as coherent as I was thinking it would be… rephrased: although minerality is a useful description, especially for Rieslings, to me, when concepts become trendy buzzwords (as “jammy” and “fruit forward” did 5-6 years ago), they become like a cliche–so worn out and tired from overuse, that they seem almost meaningless.

      Still, it was an interesting article.

      • Dear Tracy, excuse my late reply to this; I have just been very busy these last weeks. I think I understood your point even in the first post. Buzzwords can turn into turn offs for me as well, although they came about for a reason in the first place. When they get thrown around randomly (like your great example “jammy”), then they lose all descriptive value…yet, sometimes I still have to use them to describe something that comes to my mind. I try to free myself from whether it is a buzzword or not, and try to stay true to my own language.

        Also, thanks for the “compliment” (was it one? I am not sure….) regarding getting you more into reading wine descriptions again….:)

  3. ksbeth says:

    interesting theory and i’ve got to agree about the chemistry courses and approach to life, the creative side has always been more natural to me. my taste in things, (quite literally in this case), comes from my instincts and my senses.

    • waywardwine says:

      Ah! But instincts and senses are influenced by experiences (we learn to like coffee, we weren’t born liking it) and thus are mutable, heck, even trainable. Taste is learned and influenced by society and wine-writers who tell us minerality is desirable. I love minerality in some wines, but the why is extremely complicated and contextualized.

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