“People are like wine. Age sours the bad and improves the good.” ~Anonymous
While enjoying the wines at a Bookcliff Library Tasting recently, another feature stood out that furthers our wine education. We refer to it as dustiness, earthiness, and sometimes we also detect a dry rock minerality that gives the impression of warm dry dust.
Dustiness is a quality listed on the aroma wheel in the “earthy” section.
We might also note that dustiness is not mentioned in the majority of glossaries that list the terms for wine evaluation and tasting. Why? It is hard to understand why this characteristic is not mentioned since dustiness is also a very special feature of some red wines. Earthiness is also seldom mentioned. Solid, complex reds feature a dusty, earthy nose at times that is quite appealing and helps trace their origins. The 2007 Cabernet Franc from Bookcliff is a perfect example of this pleasing dusty, earthy feature.
There is no mineral section on the aroma wheel and perhaps the aroma wheel is inadequate at this point. It is less concerned with minerality than earthiness. Yet minerality is a major factor in determining which are Old World wines and which are New World wines. It’s also a feature that adds complexity to a wine and some would say it is a mark of quality.
Minerality, dustiness, and earthiness are well known characteristics of fine reds, and I have noticed it repeatedly in some wines made from Colorado fruit. It is not objectionable in a wine; rather, it is intriguing. It wants to pair with food that is rich and it adds a sensation that contrasts with the fruit in the wine, again increasing its complexity. The wine advocates its relation to the soil and, perhaps, also to the oak in which it has resided. Both grape and oak tree are nurtured in soil, of course.
You’ll find many great Colorado wines described in my book, “Experiencing Colorado Wine,” and you’ll find the description of the pairing of several of them with a great recipes by great Colorado chefs. Order your autographed copy, Experiencing Colorado Wine at Square Market.