Month: February 2021

Minerals in Wine

Riesling, lime marl, red sandstone, granite – what do these ascriptions tell us?

What role does the terroir play?
Every wine has an origin, comes from a region, from a cultural landscape and this complex understanding of “home” is best defined by the French term terroir (French terroir m. “Area”, from Latin terra “earth”). This is used by wine experts but is not always easy to convey for us at the point of sale.
However, it cannot be wrong to refer to the Latin origin of this word and to leave out the other factors such as microclimate, people, geological conditions, altitude, wind, etc. and take the soil.

Because every vine grows on one that always has a complex structure and, in addition to the consistently existing loess clay coverings and due to its geological origin, can have special features – precisely those shell limestone deposits, red sandstone deposits, or porphyry of volcanic origin. These soils all have a different occurrence of minerals – important representatives are, for example, calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium, but also traces of iron, etc …

How do we recognize mineral wines?
If we now talk about minerality in wine, then one could assume that these minerals can be specifically assigned in the pressed wine and can be measured, displayed, and tasted.
Scientific analyzes have shown, however, that the content of these minerals is very low and below the palatable tolerance limit. But what do wine lovers taste than when they rave about the salt tones of the great locations in Sancerre, emphasize the slate layers of the Moselle or talk about iron in the Rotliegend?

The influence of different wine yeasts
The fermentation process, especially if it is based on natural yeasts, is anything but easy. In addition to the classic results of carbon dioxide and alcohol, there are a number of substances that we perceive as taste: esters and other compounds, phenols, etc. The basis is laid in the grape skins and in the pips in the pulp as well as in the must can be sensed after the fermentation process has ended.

The complex interplay of technology – natural yeasts or pure yeasts, maceration time or none, high or low pressure – is decisive for the flavor character of the wine and whether we can taste minerals without them being directly present in the wine. As a comparison, we can, for example, taste a peach note in some Rieslings without the latter ever having seen a peach.


Wine as a Meal Companion

In principle, we are always on the side of the cook, since the task is to choose wine as a suitable accompaniment to a particular meal.

So this wine should be excellent:

  • mostly creating harmony between food and wine accompaniment by means of corresponding aromas, sugar content, and/or acidity;
  • put the aromas of the food in a new light, because the wine can open up new dimensions on the tongue. A bolder selection can also be used as a reinforcement function, for example when acid is combined with acid or when a fermented salt desert is countered with a good portion of residual sugar;
  • but maybe in a completely inexplicable way it goes wonderfully with the food. This experience occurs again and again and it can often be located geographically. In the Mediterranean region, the low-acid cuvées from southern France, which are often rich in alcohol, harmonize with the most interesting fish dishes or red wines from old Portuguese grape varieties with freshly grilled sea bream – smoke aromas and tannin.

Rely on quality, also with wine.
First and foremost, however, the selected wine should be valuable as a food companion, according to the appreciation for the kitchen, the cook, and his skills. Let the aroma of the plate live, do not whitewash it with the wine, the wine should accompany or support or sometimes provoke, but as a food companion, it is not the star. The applause belongs to the kitchen – ideally a successful ensemble.

However, some grape varieties are particularly suitable as a companion to certain dishes:

  • Silvaner: with vegetarian dishes, especially with asparagus, but also with many other vegetables such as Swiss chard, celery, etc. – also in combination with a veal schnitzel, capers, and anchovy fillet,
  • Riesling: from brave to old-fashioned, more bone dry than fine dry – with dishes with freshwater fish and classic side dishes,
  • Rosé wine: is really underrated. We recommend a well-structured rosé shaped by Grenache and Syrah with strong meat. Pinot Noir, on the other hand, also likes to complement a complex, lighter cuisine.

Enjoyment is in the foreground
We invite every connoisseur to enjoy, to make their own experiences, to save them for themselves – of course, both positive and negative experiences are saved. What can of course also help is testing our tasting packages or a visit to your trusted wine dealer? A conversation about spices, kitchen technology, and the overall project can lead to a good recommendation.