Minerality. The M-word. It’s a term still widely debated in the wine world, and one that’s hard to define. It’s used widely in wine descriptions, but what does it actually mean? Is it a flavor? Is it a smell? Are we actually tasting the mineral compounds from the soil where the grapes grew?
For many, it’s used to describe both aromatics and flavors in wine, but what creates those aromas and flavors is still unknown. The debate continues as to whether or not mineral compounds in soils actually make their way into grapes at all, let alone in large enough quantities to be perceived. But most do seem in agreement that there’s something about Chablis or Mosel Reisling that sets those wines apart in terms of their ‘minerality.’
We like to think of minerality as aromas or flavors that are distinct from fruit or earthy qualities. Whether that be the salinity of a Muscadet, the chalkiness of a white Burgundy, or the iron tinge of a Hungarian red, these are qualities both unique to these wines and somewhat hard to quantify as individual components. We love minerally wines! And maybe it’s because these mineral qualities only really shine through when unmasked by things like new oak or too much fruit. Or maybe it’s because they provide an added layer of complexity. Either way, we know that mineral-driven wines are a perfect accompaniment to food!
2009 Domaine de la Pepiere Muscadet ‘3’ – $24.99
We’re not shy about loving the wines of Marc Ollivier from Muscadet! His classic Muscadets are a throwback to what this corner of Northwest France became known for in the firstplace – terroir driven, accessible, and ageable white wines that are a heavenly match with the seafood (oysters!) of the region. His ‘3’ or ‘Trois’ bottling is his latest release, the ‘3’ referring to the number of years this wine aged on the lees (or yeast leftover from fermentation). Muscadet in general is known for lees-aging, which imparts a richer texture to the finished wine, but the AOC minimum for aging on the lees is only through the 3rd week in March after harvest. Marc far exceeds this with the ‘3’ and the result is a richly textured, brightly acidic, and mouthwatering minerally wine!
(Currently available at both Markets.)
2011 Domaine Pavelot Aligoté – $19.99
Aligoté, or ‘The Other White Burgundy’ as it’s sometimes referred to, often gets a bad rap. Many winemakers in Burgundy see this grape as less prestigious than other varieties, and its plantings in Burgundy are far outweighed by Chardonnay. It’s often made into simple, acidic wines that are diluted and balanced with the addition of cassis to create the classic Kir apértif. Surrounded by an abundance of ‘simple’ wines, Domaine Pavelot stands above the rest in terms of the quality of its Aligoté. Their extreme care for their 50-year old Aligoté vines contributes to a clean and balanced white that needs no cassis! Tart lemon zest, apricot, and pear notes lead to a salty minerality on the finish – perfect for sipping on its own or with a scallop crudo!
(Available at both Markets next week!)
Upcoming Tastings at 18 Reasons:
18th Hour Cafe – Every Thursday, 6-10PM, Drop-In.
Tasting Seminar with Pamela Busch: The New France – Tuesday, July 30, 7-9PM, Ticketed
Mini Wine Blitz – Friday, August 23, 6-8PM, Ticketed and Drop-In