Hidden Menu

  • Southwest France Wine Tour (Oct 2016)
  • Rioja Wine Tour (tba)
  • Jura Wine Tour (Oct. 2017)
  • Tuscany Wine Tour (May 2019)
  • Burgundy Wine Tour (June 2019 - FULL)
  • Champagne Wine Tour (June 2019 - FULL)
  • Home
  • Reservation Form
  • Reservation Form Special
  • My Membership
  • Webinar-Evaluation
  • Notify me when Flash Player bug is fixed
  • Our Recent Top Exam Scorers
  • Private Trips Reservation Form
  • Guest membership
  • Top Exam Scorer
  • 3-Month Guest Membership
  • Latest newsletter
  • Latest News Archive
  • Newsletter Signup
  • Application Submission Form
  • Free 6 Month Membership
  • Thank you for your submission
  • Acymailing Modify Subscription
  • Update Newsletter Profile
  • Preferences saved
  • Italian Wine Scholar - Unit 1 - Study Manual
  • IWS test page
  • Membership for Wine Educators
  • Loire Valley Pronuncitation Module
  • Self-Enrollment in FWS v5.2
  • FWS V6 Upgrade
  • chronoform users-edit
  • Private trips
  • Cru Artisan College 2017
  • French Wine Scholar™ online | Independent Study Format
  • French Wine Scholar™ online | 14-week Instructor-Led Format
  • Private trips
  • French Wine Scholar™ online | 14-week Instructor-Led Format UPGRADE
  • French Wine Scholar™ online | 14-week Instructor-Led Format UPGRADE (from previous versions)
  • wine study and tasting groups faq
  • Italian Wine Scholar™ Unit 1 online | 14-week Instructor-Led Format
  • Italian Wine Scholar™
  • Italian Wine Scholar™ Unit 2 online | 15-week Instructor-Led Format
  • Rhône Wine Tour (June 2018)
  • Champagne Master-Level - Excerpt 1
  • Champagne Master-Level - Excerpts 2
  • Louis Roederer Scholarship for the Champagne Master-Level Program
  • Laurent Perrier Scholarship for Guild of Sommeliers Members
  • Champagne ML Preview
  • Reservation form for Bourgogne intensive
  • Tuscany (May 2019)
  • Thanks for your submission
  • Search FAQs
  • Wine Tasting
  • Membership Demo
  • Certified Sherry Wine Specialist VIP pre-launch
  • Buy Tasting Lab Credits
  • Replacement Pins
  • Winetasting - Home2
  • Reservation form for Bourgogne intensive Fall 2022
  • School Management
  • Register Menu

    Issue # Three - June 2013

    Saturday, 25 May 2013 20:00

    Geologist says scientific basis of “minerality” is “at best conjectural”

    Alex Maltman of the Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences at the University of Wales, who has written extensively about soil and wine, presents a thorough and lengthy synopsis of “minerality” in Practical Winery & Vineyard (printed as part of Wines & Vines).

    This carefully reasoned analysis focuses on the scientific challenges to an idea the author describes as “simple and romantic.” Noting that the “mineral” descriptor “has no place in the science-based schemes on wine aroma, mouthfeel and flavor,” he points out that the wine press has nevertheless embraced the term. Maltman recognizes a direct connection between geology and “minerality” in wine might seem “plausible” at first glance. He then lays out the scientific inconsistencies, starting with the observation that minerals in soil – termed geological minerals – are insoluble, noting that vines can only take up “dissolved matter.” Nutrient minerals in the plant and wine may originate with geological minerals, but only by way of “complex, protracted” processes. There is, he says, a “major disconnect between the two types of minerals.” This “disassociation” is multiplied within the vine and magnified in grape juice and during vinification.  These complex relationships, the author states, undermine the notion that “minerality” expresses the minerals found in a vineyard.  Minerals in wine are present in “minuscule” concentrations and are almost all “flavorless.”

    Going further, Maltman points out that “licking a mineral or rock surface” can only leave a “tactile sensation” and not a taste per se. If mineral nutrients are added to distilled water in concentrations typical of wines, humans “cannot perceive their presence.” While tasters often compare “minerality” to a “flinty taste,” the scientist explains that flint is a type of silica and lacks “any taste or odor.” Moreover, vines cannot take up “inert, insoluble silica.” Similarly, he dispels the illusion of “struck flint or of gun-flint” in a wine’s aroma, which would refer to “the smell of burning iron or steel” rather than minerals. The aroma of stone is not in fact derived from the rocks themselves, but is an allusion to “kinds of organic oils” present in soils. Last, the writer mentions seashells and fossils in vineyards, pointing out that they “bring nothing different” in terms of vine nutrition or wine composition. In conclusion, Maltman admits to the “intuitive attractiveness” of “minerality” and allows for the possibility research may uncover “complex and circuitous ways” nutrient minerals influence wine flavor. However, science indicates that “minerality in wine – whatever that perception is – cannot be in any literal, direct way the flavor of minerals derived from vineyard rocks and soils.”

    Ed. I highly recommend that all wine professionals, educators and journalists read the full text of this article.


    Read 3016 times

    Sign up to receive our latest updates