Tasting minerality in wine is highly fashionable, but it is unclear what this involves. The present review outlines published work concerning how minerality in wine is perceived and conceptualised by wine professionals and consumers. Studies investigating physico-chemical sources of perceived minerality in wine are reviewed also. Unusually, for a wine sensory descriptor, the term frequently is taken to imply a genesis: the sensation is the taste of minerals in the wine that were transported through the vine from the vineyard rocks and soils. Recent studies exploring tasters’ definitions of minerality in wine support this notion. However, there are reasons why this cannot be. First, minerals in wine are nutrient elements that are related distantly only to vineyard geological minerals. Second, mineral nutrients in wine normally have minuscule concentrations and generally lack flavour. Results of reviewed studies overall demonstrate marked variability in both wine professionals’ and wine consumers’ definitions and sensory-based judgments of minerality in wine, although there is some consensus in terms of the other wine attributes that associate with the term mineral. The main wine composition predictors of perceived minerality involve a complex combination of organic compounds dependent on grape ripeness and/or derived from wine fermentations and redox status.
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