MINERALITY: Animal, Vegetable or Mineral?

20th October, 2011 by db_staff

The term ‘mineral’ is a fashionable wine characteristic right now, but what does it actually mean? Sally Easton MW finds there is a lack of precision and unanimity in defining the term and suggests it be used only very cautiously.

The term minerality is bandied around with gay abandon by winemakers and industry folk alike, who regularly struggle to define it precisely when probed. But, “Minerality in wine is difficult to define,” says Kees van Leeuwen, professor of viticulture at ENITA – Bordeaux University, precisely “because it does not refer to a specific substance present in wine.”

This leaves us floundering with an imprecise language to describe the term. Among many, Andrew Jefford has described it as an “absence of fruit, animal, wood”. Others intone….

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