winesmith wrote:Well, then, circling back to minerality, we can talk about whether it's a positive attribute for a wine. I got very focused on this energetic buzz because when my wife moved from France and we were dating, I was at first puzzled that although she was nuts about Sancerre, she didn't like California Sauvignon Blancs such as Geyser Peak at all. At first I thought that was just wierd, until I figured out that this minerally finish was what was missing.
On the other hand, one of the most common pieces of praise you get from novice drinkers is the word "smooth!" One gets the impression they are still suffering from early negative experiences with alcohol. Is this the opposite of energetic, or do they just mean harmonious?
These two directions for wine -- the presence of positives and the absence of negatives -- can be difficult to reconcile in a single wine. Of course, we could say these same things about acidity. But in California wines, minerality is more unexpected, and pretty sharply divides into reactions of utter delight, frank dislike, and confused perplexity. Throw in the associated reductive effects on a young wine, and the effect is even more amplified.
As we move more in this direction by increasing living soil practices, I see us widening the gap between the two wine industries, which I call Real Wine and McWine. The former is about 98% of the wines out there (somewhere), and the latter accounts for 95% of the volume.
Like it, of course... except that at the end, I'd tend to veer towards gcdyersb's approach. We don't always eat michelin-starred food. Sometimes, the simple food is (almost) nourishing, warming, comforting and easily accessible. Beans on toast (for the Brits), poulet-frites (pour les francais.. they're always more upmarket) and some kind of burger / mexican favourite (for the You Ess). Or any late-night food, frankly.
For me, as with you I'm sure, it's about wine's equivalent of leading, or encouraging people from supermarket plastic cheese to raw pont l'eveque, via accessible creamy camembert as an intermediate step.
Or weaning them off the smooth Johnny Boring Walker via Glenfiddich to the likes of Macallen, Talisker or Laphroaig and better.
Or showing them that beyond their top choice tequila Patron Silver not only does Jose do a Riserva de la Famiglia, but that's only the bottom end of the amazing peppery delights of proper high-end tequila. Not for salt and limes!
I could continue this for hours, with many foods and drinks.
I didn't like Sancerre when I first tried it, and other rewarding French wines like Chablis. But I was 12, or 13. Sometimes we eed "starter wines", though start too low and people think that's all there is.
For the more sophisticated drinker, or the interested intermediate, easy, simple wines are ok, as long as we know that more is out there, and we don't just settle all the time for the easy, plain, predictable. Like settling in Newport Beach. Some people can afford to have the best wines all the time, but then they forget sometimes quite how good they have it by comparison :D
And let us not forget also the delights and rejuvenation involved in resting the palate!
All this a kind of preamble / diversionary response to you two, leading on to:
Thus, we seem to deem minerality one of the basket of those attributes desirable in a challenging, potentially excellent wine. So, what - if any - kind of a wine can become great WITHOUT it? And what would that wine have instead, or chan you characterise in general those wines which should benefit from at least some minerality?