While “minerality” has long been used as a wine descriptor, it has recently become much more popular.
The word is widely used by winemakers, wine retailers and sommeliers, not to mention wine drinkers, wine critics and wine columnists. As the Wall Street Journal wine writer Lettie Teague notes in an article, minerality could perhaps be described as the meeting point of dry and wet.
Unlike other words that describe the taste of wine, such as “oaky,” “flabby” or “bitter,” Teague notes in the piece, a wine that is “minerally” is universally understood to be good. But what does everyone mean when they say it?
One operator, for instance, believes that the minerality descriptor was created to capture an experience that’s impossible to define, while a wine retailer thinks it serves as a catchall for several qualities of a wine that are hard to put into words. The same retailer often uses minerality to describe wines that weren’t something else like fruity, spicy or herbal.
“Minerally” wines generally tend to be high-acid, fresh and lively, but some believe minerality is now preferred because it’s trendy, or as one wine director put it, “an advanced tasting word.” A chablis producer who started seeing the word’s popularity rise around five years ago likens the use of “minerality” to an earlier obsession with “terroir.”
Read the full Wall Street Journal article here.