Wine Tasting Tips : Mineral Aromas in Wines


Mineral aromas are highly prized in wine.
They’re a little bit misunderstood, but you shouldn’t be afraid of a wine that smells
a little bit like wet sand, wet stone, a river bank, chalk, flint, steel, flint striking
steel, lead pencil, or graphite. These are highly regarded aromas. They’re generally
considered to be derived from the earth, and a very fine Vineyard site will impart some
of those mineral aromas to a wine. You can get a mineral aroma at the top of the glass,
in the middle of the glass, or on the long distance sniff. You may have to really look
for them, but they’re worth it. In a white wine, in the middle of the glass; especially
a Chardonnay, maybe even a Sauvignon Blanc, smell the top of the glass; look for wet stone,
wet sand, riverbank, or steel. They may even come across in the flavor of the wine. A mineral
hit is a great thing in a Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. We call the flavor minerality, or I
like to say mineralitay, which is the French way of saying it; makes it sound a little
more appealing. In a red wine you can get the same aromas; you can get wet stone, wet
sand, and especially maybe a little bit more of a graphite or a chalky aroma. These definitely
come from the soil, and are part of some of the most highly regarded complex red wines
on the face of the earth. They will come across a little bit on the palate, but don’t be afraid
of it; it’s a very, very good thing. By the way, the next time you’re walking down the
street and it starts to rain; take a nice deep smell, because that smell that you get
when rain hits sidewalk, or graphite, or asphalt street is also a very common aroma in wine.
I call it wet street, or wet sidewalk. Some people call it ozone. You can also get this
aroma when lightning crackles. Breathe deeply the next time you’re caught outside in a thunder
storm, and you might learn a little something about wine aromas.

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