Optimize “Exploring Wine Minerality: A Information to Pebbly, Gravelly, and Chalky Wines”

We loved French and Austrian white wines that tasted like moist gravel. Are there any Australian wines with this taste – or is it a terroir factor?
AT, Northcote, Vic

Credit score:Simon Letch

Attempting to explain the style of wine is a bit like making an attempt to catch a cloud in a butterfly web, and but mineral descriptors have lengthy been used for sure wines. We use adjectives which will appear absurd on their very own, however make sense within the context of many different aromas and flavors in a fancy wine.


Once we say a wine smells like moist slate or chalk or tastes like river stones, that doesn’t imply that’s all you style. It might simply be a nuance that units a wine other than its friends. Stone fruits (peach, nectarine) and citrus fruits (grapefruit, lemon) are widespread in chardonnay, however a scent of crushed flint or moist gravel generally is a distinguishing function.

In France, chablis (that’s chardonnay), sancerre (sauvignon blanc), vouvray (chenin blanc), and muscadet (melon de Bourgogne) usually have a mineral or stony word as a part of their bouquet and taste. This will make the wine far more attention-grabbing than, say, a easy monotonous peach. The identical may be mentioned of grüner veltliner from the Austrian areas of Wachau and Kremstal.


Sadly, it’s not attainable to establish a selected grape, winemaker or area in Australia that produces wines with these traits. They do happen, however not constantly. This will likely have one thing to do with the climate: cool climates and colder seasons have a tendency to provide extra mineral wines.

Minerality additionally doesn’t come from totally ripe grapes, therefore the hyperlink to very cool climates the place ripeness is marginal and sugar (and alcohol) ranges are decrease. Strive Tasmanian whites, particularly riesling and chardonnay, Hunter Valley semillon, and early-harvest chenin blanc from Margaret River (or, paradoxically, the Swan Valley).

Some authorities would have us consider that the stony, gravelly or different mineral flavors come from the underside of the winery. It’s a horny concept – extracting chalky notes from the chalky soils of Chablis and Champagne, for instance, appears logical – but it surely has but to be scientifically confirmed. Simply put it all the way down to the surprise and thriller of wine.