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Mineral Notes in Wine – Day 14

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Learn about mineral notes in wine on Day 14. Where they come from, how they impact the structure and finish of the wine, and how they play into food and wine pairing.

Wine of the Day

Riesling Mosel Joh. Jos. Christoffel Erben 2014
Find a Riesling on Wine.Com



Gravel, a match, a metal dumbbell

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Drink wine along with me, Annie, and learn to engage all of your senses in a powerful new way. SUBSCRIBE to the channel to follow along.

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EP14_How to Smell Minerals in Wine (file name)

WINE: Mosel Riesling

SCENT: Bowl of Gravel, something else?

TITLE/SCREEN: DiVino Wine School animated logo

Hello everyone!

(HOOK)  I DON’T REMEMBER. Something about how today’s lesson “totally rocks?”


TITLE/SCREEN: DAY 14 – Mineral Notes in Wine

Welcome back to DiVino Wine School. I’m Annie, and Day 14 is dedicated to minerality.

Before we get started, I want to remind you to subscribe to this channel and click the enroll link below, to stay updated on upcoming episodes, and remember to keep smelling things out there in the world in order to build up your scent vocabulary. 

TITLE/SCREEN: Mosel Riesling Joh. Jos Christoffel Erben 2014

If you’ve been following along, you might a Mosel Riesling with you. Like this one.

Rieslings from the Mosel region have a very distinctive mineral quality.


Minerals are more difficult to identify because we aren’t used to smelling them.

That is why I brought some gravel. To get you in the mood for smelling minerals.

In wine tasting you pick them up on the nose but also on the palate. These aromas come across as flavors as well as sensations, especially on the finish.

TITLE/SCREEN: Minerals come across as flavors as well as sensations.

The origin of mineral notes in wine is not 100% clear. 

Some of them develop during the winemaking process, but others seem to be directly related to the soil and the climate where the vineyards are located.

This is a very romantic concept, called terroir. 


We’ve got a whole episode on Terroir coming up, so stay tuned.

So what does Minerality smell like and taste like?

TITLE/SCREEN: Close your eyes for a second.

Imagine a constant ocean breeze rustling the leaves of the grape vines. Salt collects on the leaves and in the soil.  The wine in your glass is reminiscent of the seaside, and it leaves a slightly salty finish.

Ok open your eyes.  Smell and taste your wine if you have it.

This is very poetic, but it happens all the time.  If you have sea salt at home you can stick your nose in the jar, or mix some up with water and smell that. Or, have an oyster!

TITLE/SCREEN: Imagine the sidewalk after a summer shower. 

Can you taste or smell that? It’s ok if you can’t. This takes practice, which is why I brought a big bowl of rocks today! To train my nose to recognize what we call stony minerality.

In addition to salt, other examples of mineral notes include: Flint, or gun powder, slate, wet stones, graphite, petrol, and metal.

TITLE/SCREEN: Flint, or gun powder, slate, wet stones, graphite, petrol, and metal.

The good news is that you probably do know what these things smell like. You may just need a reminder. 

Sulfur and limestone are at the heart of a lot of these. Sulfuric and is not a very nice pleasant way to describe wine, but keep it in mind.  

If you break a piece of chalk in half, that’s a mineral note. Break chalk.

TITLE/SCREEN:  That’s a mineral note.

Do you have one of those black pumice stones? If you scrape into the edge a bit and get it wet, those are mineral notes.

 We say volcanic minerality. Some wines, especially in southern Italy are made from grapes growing on the slopes of volcanoes, where the soil is extremely complex and mineral rich, or where volcanos existed 1000s of years ago.

Think of what you smell after fireworks go off.  That’s flint. Lighting a match is similar.

Graphite is the smell of sharpened number 2 pencils. Back-to-school sense memory anyone? Bordeaux is famous for having graphite notes.

TITLE/SCREEN:  Have you ever smelled your hands after lifting weights at the gym?

(Bring a weight). Have you ever smelled your hands after lifting weights at the gym?

Not the colorful plastic ones, the ones with steel bar in the middle.  Or maybe after working on your bike?  

 TITLE/SCREEN:   Metallic

Metallic notes are all around us but you have to touch it to release the scent.  I have no idea why.

You can describe very dry white wines as being steely, when they feel very firm on your palate and are dry very clean and sleek. You might also smell or taste a metallic sensation.

This comes with practice, but think of wines with a lot of acidity like this Riesling or a Grüner Veltliner or an unoaked Chardonnay?  

When you aren’t sure exactly what you smell, but you definitely notice something in this category you can say the wine has mineral notes, has a mineral finish, has subtle or intense minerality. Maybe it’s stony or steely.

When minerality shows up in the finish, it creates a mouthwatering sensation.

TITLE/SCREEN:  Minerality is mouthwatering.

This is what makes you want to have to have another sip but also plays into food and wine pairing.

TITLE/SCREEN:  Minerality and Wine Pairing

If your wine leaves you with a mouthful of minerals, stay away from salty or bitter foods that will clash. Instead, a mild white fish will burst with flavor. In a way, think of it salting your food.

TITLE/SCREEN:  In a way, think of it salting your food.

A wine with great minerality can really bring out the best in a relatively simple dish.

A perfect example of this is the caprese salad, famed dish from the Amalfi coast in Southern Italy.

*Graphic of Mozzarella ball, ripe tomato, basil + White wine bottle and glass.

Fresh mozzarella, ripe tomatoes, and a bit of basil is classically pairing with a super volcanic white wine the surrounding region of Campania, home to Mount Vesuvius.

The wine draws out wonderful floral and nutty flavors in the cheese, and the planty flavors of the tomato and basil really sing.

Let me know in the comments what you drank today, or if you have ever experienced distinctly mineral notes in a wine.

And if you’re enjoying the series, please subscribe and enroll! It’s free and link is right down there. Seven more days to go!


END TITLE/SCREEN: Wine is a language. Learn how to speak it.

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