Mineral is a tasting term that regularly appears in my wine notes.
I may use the word ‘flinty’ too, usually to describe those very pronounced mineral flavours in the celebrated Chardonnays from Chablis, or the Sauvignon blanc of Pouilly-Fumé.
What is really being described is a saltiness in the wine, that some people compare to the taste you would get licking a wet stone. Although licking wet stones isn’t something I make a habit of.
Minerality is most noticeable in unoaked white wines and that salty element can work really well when pairing wines with food. However, I often taste mineral in rosé, particularly those from Provence and in red wines also. For me those flavours add another layer of complexity to a wine.
The following recommendations, four whites and a rosé for good measure, all have the term mineral next to them in my wine notes.
Crisp and refreshing
Taste The Difference Greco di Tufo 2014
£9 from Sainsbury’s
Sainsbury’s has a cracking own label Italian white, Taste The Difference Greco di Tufo 2014 which hails from the Campania region. It is a crisp and refreshing wine, suggesting tropical fruits, spiced with white pepper and distinct notes of wet stone. Brilliant as an aperitif and fantastic with seafood.
Fresh and dry
The Society’s Grüner Veltliner 2015
£7.50 at The Wine Society
The Wine Society’s own label wines often represent very good value. If you are a member do check out The Society’s Grüner Veltliner 2015. It’s made by Weingut Stadt Krems in the Kremstal region of Austria.
Fresh and very dry, it has flavours of pear and citrus with characteristic white pepper notes, a hint of effervescence and some minerality of course.
Tropical fruit flavour
Morgadio da Torre Alvarinho 2015, Vinho Verde
£9.99 (mix 6 price) at Majestic
You may know the Spanish grape Albariño but across the border in Portugal it is known as Alvarinho. There, it is usually made in a more food friendly, less fruit forward style.
Having said that Morgadio da Torre Alvarinho 2015, from Portugal’s Vinho Verde region, is certainly not lacking in ripe peach and tropical fruit flavour. These flavours are held in check by a balancing acidity and a long mineral finish.
Zesty lemon and lime
Robert Oatley Signature Series Great Southern Riesling 2014
The Riesling grape is usually a sure-fire contender to exhibit some minerality and Robert Oatley Southern Riesling 2014 is no exception. This bone dry example, from Western Australia, is well balanced with zesty lemon and lime flavours, white flowers and just a hint of petrol.
Château Tour de Mirambeau Reserve Rosé 2015, Bordeaux
£10.60 from Tanners Wines
Or think pink and try a sophisticated rosé from Bordeaux, Château Tour de Mirambeau Reserve Rosé 2015. Made entirely from cabernet sauvignon grapes it is dry and clean tasting, suggesting strawberries, redcurrant, blackcurrant and citrus with distinct mineral notes on the finish.