On Minerality in Wine

A frequently cited, but just as frequently misunderstood characteristic in many wines, “minerality” belongs in every Napa Valley Wine Academy student’s sensory repertoire.

Minerality is an umbrella category encompassing such aroma and flavor descriptors as wet rock or stone, chalk, flint, crushed gravel and slate, among others.

Critics hold up minerality as a telltale sign of a wine expressing its terroir, but is it really the vineyard speaking? Could the winemaker be more responsible?

Those who favor the terroir link cite the white wines of Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc) and Chablis (Chardonnay). Chalk dominates the soils of Sancerre, while the Kimmeridgean soils of Chablis contain large deposits of fossilized oyster shells. The latter soil is not found in any other viticulture area.

While research is ongoing, none currently exists indicating that the minerals present in such soils (calcium, zinc, magnesium) appear in sufficient concentration in wine to create a sensory response.

The research is arguably a bit more convincing on the winemaking side. Researchers from the University of Bordeaux have isolated a chemical compound in wine, benzyl mercaptan, which may be responsible for a mineral-like aroma.

Most mercaptans leave undesirable aromas in wine. They most commonly form when yeast lack access to sufficient quantities of nitrogen, a needed element for alcoholic fermentation to occur.

Desperate, the yeast will seek nitrogen bound up in amino acids in the wine. This process creates hydrogen sulfide, which in large amounts renders a wine undrinkable. Hydrogen sulfide can react with alcohol and amino acids to create mercaptans.

Regardless of its source, minerality remains a captivating attribute of certain wines, one that enhances enjoyment but also encourages further exploration into its origin.

Author- Peter Alig CSW, CWP

SHARE

IN-PERSON COURSE & WORKSHOP REFUNDS & TRANSFERS

Cancellations of confirmed in-person course enrollments and workshops are accepted up to 60 days before the start of the course. An administration fee of $50 plus the full cost of the study materials and exam fees will be deducted, and the remainder of the course fee refunded to the payee. Separate WSET exam cancellation/transfer rules apply.
Transfers of a confirmed enrollment to another course are accepted 60 days before the course start date with an administration fee of $50.

Cancellations less than 60 days before the in-person course start date or course no shows forfeit any refund/transfer options unless students can provide medical documentation. If medical documentation is provided, students can be transferred to a later course. No refunds will be applied.

Course Transfers cannot be carried forward to the next academic year (which commenced on January 1).

Students are highly encouraged to purchase separate travel insurance.

You've got this!

Flamingo Hotel Las Vegas

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

February 12, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Pacific)

at

3555 Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas, NV 89109

 

You've got this!

Mariott Santa Ynez

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

April 23, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Pacific)

at

555 McMurray Road

Buelton, CA 93427

 

You've got this!

Art Hotel Denver

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

March 5, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Mountain)

at

1201 Broadway

Denver, CO 80203

 

You've got this!

Aloft Nashville

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

February 12, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Central)

at 

1719 West End Ave.

Nashville, TN 37203

 

You've got this!

Epicurean Hotel

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

March 19, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Eastern)

at

1207 S Howard Ave,

Tampa, FL 33606

 

You've got this!

Street View of HQ

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

January 22, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Pacific)

at

2501 Oak Street

Napa, CA 94559

 

Search

[]