to finish (or not) with the minerality

Chronic. Let’s take advantage of this column to help friends in need. In this specific case, to guide a young woman who is well in all respects, but unfairly confused after a visit to her cellar. The latter asked her what type of wine she liked (a question more deceitful than it seems). Half to hide her embarrassment, half because she believed in it, she replied: “A wine… mineral? “ Straight away, the wine merchant replied: “You have to stop with that word, mineral. He doesn’t mean anything! ” Confusion of the friend, who thought she was doing well, even imposing some with a learned term. And who realizes that this word, used indiscriminately in wine, annoys as much as it intrigues.

First of all, I want to reassure her: her wine merchant is wrong. Mineral, it makes sense. In fact, and this is the whole problem, there are several, too many. First of all the most overused: amateurs say that a wine is mineral when they appreciate it but don’t really know how to describe it. Neither frankly fruity nor really floral, not woody either. Mineral, therefore.

Aromas and tastes

Then, it is commonly used to designate a dry and acid white wine, unlike a round, fatty or tender wine. Acidity, however essential in keeping a wine, has a regrettable negative connotation. A wine with good acidity is perceived as mineral, which is not necessarily true. It is nevertheless true that a wine which has minerality is endowed with a lively acidity, that it makes salivating (we will say that it is salivating, and that too is very professional) and that it has saline notes. at the end of the palate (we will say that it has salinity, we are in the sharp of the word and there, we really impose).

At this stage, it is advisable to separate two major poles of the wine: its aromas and its taste. There are mineral aromas, in the sense of odors reminiscent of the soil and all that is mineral. Let us quote for example the chalk odor which champagne sometimes evokes (odor sometimes fantasized because the Chardonnay of the Côte des Blancs grows on a chalky and chalky soil). We also find the smell of heated flint in fine Chablis, Chenins de Loire or Sancerres, but some wines also smell of fireworks powder, gravel path, pebble beach or quite simply iodine, frequent in Muscadets.

In the mouth, the minerality is expressed more clearly: it is the sensation of acidity and salinity mixed, that is to say its richness in mineral salts.

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