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How to make a mineral wine? Relationship between production type in the Chablis vineyard and the search for a mineral wine style

Abstract : Minerality in wine has consistently gained attention from the wine industry in the last three decades. It has been considered for a long time as an ill-defined and controversial sensory attribute. In the last decade, several academic articles have addressed the conceptual, sensory and chemical delimitation of this fuzzy concept. However, the link to viticulture and winemaking processes has not been studied yet. The goal of this work was twofold: first to produce a typology of practices in Chablis Premier Cru, a PDO (known for its mineral wines) and, second, to explore how Chablis producers conceptualise wine minerality and its link to production practices. We hypothesized that Chablis producers aim to maximise the minerality of their wines and adapt their production strategy accordingly. Two interviews were carried out. Thirty-four wine producers from Chablis participated in the typology interview, of which twenty-seven also participated in the minerality interview. A typology analysis of the producers’ viticultural and winemaking practices revealed four types of production strategies (Conventional, Natural, Agroecology and Low Input Winemaking). A short semi-structured interview of the producers’ opinions of and attitudes towards minerality and practices leading to wine minerality highlighted the key aspects of the production of mineral wines, namely soil characteristics, harvest date, type of yeasts, fermentation temperature, type of ageing containers and intensity of lees contact, among others. A link between the respondents’ production practices and their minerality conceptualisation was found: in some cases, the representation of minerality seemed to be a result of the applied production strategy and not only the other way around; i.e., these winemakers conclude that because their wines are mineral their respective production practice is the best one for making mineral wines, without having deliberately chosen it to make mineral wines.
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Submitted on : Monday, August 29, 2022 - 12:01:30 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, August 30, 2022 - 3:41:32 AM

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Heber Rodrigues, Dominique Valentin, Méven Oteguy, Jordi Ballester. How to make a mineral wine? Relationship between production type in the Chablis vineyard and the search for a mineral wine style. OENO One, Institut des Sciences de la Vigne et du Vin (Université de Bordeaux), 2022, 56 (2), pp.29-45. ⟨10.20870/oeno-one.2022.56.2.4856⟩. ⟨hal-03763110⟩

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