Is oxidation increasing the minerality in wine? First time I heard this statement was from Anselme Selosse.
I don’t think many people think of oxidation and minerality to be closely tied together. We often associate minerality with a flinty, chalky or stony expression in wine and often we think of minerality as an element bringing a bright, frisky or fresh touch to wine. However there are also darker scented formations of minerality that can be notes of clay, sand, wet rocks or slate.
According to Peter Liem (Champagneguide; article on minerality (subscribers only) there is a lot of laziness connected by using the term, as we aren’t specific enough on what specific type of minerality we are talking about?
I have to agree and I am guilty as sinned. I have even discovered – often at tasting events – the presences of a poised high acidity can confuse people what’s in fact the driver behind the freshness of the wine – is it minerality or acidity?
With this in the back of my mind I decided to open a wine, which plays with a rather oxidized profile.
2010 Nicolas Carmarans “Selves”
Terroir: Granit and sand
Vineyards: Terrace - 500m above sea level
Location: We are in Aveyron – which is located in Massif Central
Sulphur: 2 mg/l at bottling
Other: Nicolas Carmarans has since 1994 been the owner of Café de la Nouvelle Mairie in Paris. Today he doesn’t run it – but focuses entirely on making wine.
Glass: Zalto Burgundy
I couldn’t help to compare this a little bit with “Chez Charles” from Noëlla Morantin – although we are far from Loire and it’s a different grape and terroir. The resemblance it’s the aromatic notes – which shapes like; late harvest honey, wet hay, caramel, hazelnuts, quince and exotic evening perfume. However “Selves” goes a step deeper and it’s also quit a bit more oxidized. As soon as it hits the mouth you also sense something different is going on – its texture is oilier, elastic – spanning a lush and luxurious mouth-watering wave across the palate. It’s a kind of wine, which is pretty seductive, but also a tense and rich wine, which aromatic and texture-wise easily could fall out of balance. However it’s on the last meters, were it sets full sail with a long sandy and elastic feel keeping a high intense nerve in the wine. When returning for the next sniff and taste – and knowing how the circle ends, you are pretty hooked to drink more. Also a good food wine I think – I could imagine scallops with some hazelnuts and Jerusalem artichokes could work great here – or cheese. Great wine – loved it.
So did I found the answer to my initial question? Maybe I did. Minerality is definitely a far more complex thing in wine and here it certainly seemed like there was a backbone holding on to these intense aromatic notes, which I couldn’t tie directly to a penetrating intense acidity – but something else.
There is only one way to find out if this is true – taste more, be less lazy and pay more attention to the terroir before you open the bottle.
Happy New Year everyone…drink something decent, something real, something that will make you feel more alive, something that matters, something that you can drink more of and kiss your loved ones and hope for the best ;-).