The word ‘minerality’ can be divisive among wine enthusiasts. There are the hard-liner scientifically-based buff who correctly tell us that there is no actual physical mineral up-take by vines that goes into the resultant wines. Then there are those with easy imaginations who are happy to use the word ‘minerality’ to describe anything in a wine that resembles wet-stones and thirst-quenching sensations. I admit I veer towards the latter, as most people who are keen on wine understand the sense of using the word to describe their impressions in tasting a wine that has this taste of the earth and its mineral constituents – whether it actually has these minerals in the wine or not!
On a visit to the Bassinet Babes, they brought out a rare bottling that truly spoke of minerality. The wines of Hiro Kusuda in Martinborough are highly sought after and high proportion of them find their way into his fans’ cellars in Japan. But specialists stockists get small amounts, and bottles find their way into wine lovers’ cellars, such as the Bassinet Babes. Without any hesitation, they opened the 2014 Kusuda Martinborough Riesling. 12.0% alc. and 1.1 g/L RS, but an impressive 4,268 bottles made. Hiro is a Riesling fanatic, having trained in Germany, so it’s not too surprising to see this much made. I’m sure he’d be better served making more Pinot Noir and Syrah, which he has developed a cult following for, and from which he can earn more money. But money isn’t everything.
This wine is the quintessential expression of minerality. Very dry and very tight and taut. Yet surprisingly rich and deep-fruited without giving any sense of opulence and lusciousness. This is crisp, refined, firm and thirst-quenching, with the faintest lime and lemonade fruit, but with an over-arching character of minerals. Wet-stones and chalk, but much more delicate and subtle than those descriptors suggest. Beautifully smooth textures, great linearity, and precision and purity to burn. This is great wine that oozes mineral magic and finesse.