In the most classic (if not trivial) description of rosé wine there are always some descriptors.
I am not talking about the fruity and floral, typical hints of a rosé wine due to the chemical compounds that are formed in winemaking. Let’s talk about those scents that are now trending, that everyone flaunts and it almost seems like a wine cannot be defined as such if it does not report the descriptor of mineral or iodate, especially if the wine-producing grape rises near a volcano or nearby at the sea.
What is the mineral? Really exists?
And already the first dizziness for the sommelier on duty. Yes, dizziness, the ones you feel when you are on top of the volcano whose soil can give the famous mineral note to the wine produced.
Now it must be remembered that the mineral sensation is a tactile sensation that therefore we feel in the mouth, we can’t smell it. Furthermore, the mineral note is NOT attributable to a specific molecule found in wine but to a set of molecules.
The name of mineral has been mistakenly given to this complex of molecules that has nothing to do with the mineral as this is perceived in the mouth through a savory gustatory note.
The complex of molecules to which we have attributed the name of mineral is formed during fermentation by yeasts and have nothing to do with the soil. Among other things, it should be remembered that at normal temperature the minerals are not volatile, therefore they have no characteristic odor. And this confirms the fact that the mineral can be felt in the mouth as a tactile sensation but not in the nose.
Professor Muoio in his book “Il Respiro del Vino” associates the concept of mineral with extreme purity and can be a hint associated mainly with white wines and rosé wines.
So what is the minerality of rosé wines due to?
The minerality is due to a complex of aromatic molecules, due to fermentation and therefore to the yeasts used. These molecules contain a sulfur atom and often cause unwanted aromas in wine. However, if present in small quantities and if the winemaking process is made in an excellent way, with grapes suitable for the production of rosé wine, they can bring that complexity into the wine. Complexity that can be traced back to an excellent work done in the cellar and not to the volcanic territory. Let’s remember that making rosé wine is an attitude. You cannot make rosé everywhere or with any grape. Or rather it can be done but the results will not be the best.
Another aromatic descriptor abused in the description of quality rosé wines is the iodine note. It would be natural to attribute the iodine note to the presence of the sea but this is not the case. Iodine is present in the sea but it is not odorous. Also in this case we are faced with thiol molecules produced by yeast metabolism.
In conclusion, mineral and iodine are recognized notes in the tasting vocabulary: sommeliers and wine lovers have attributed this name to complexes of molecules that we are now used to identifying as mineral and iodized but which chemically do not derive from the mineral or marine world.
“Whoever talks about minerality on the nose does not understand anything about wine” (Luca Gardini)