We put some of
asked questions to
our buyers. This
month, head of
buying Tim Sykes
questions on some
Q: What does is mean when a
wine is described as ‘closed’?
A: A wine is sometimes described as
being ‘closed’ if the aroma or flavour
are rather subdued or dumb. It is not a
fault in the wine, but it is very difficult
to predict when in a wine’s evolution
this might occur, if indeed it will.
The expectation is that the wine will
come out of this phase and show its
true colours as it develops further in
bottle; red wines tend to be more
prone to this phenomenon than
whites, but it’s not unheard of for
wines with ageing potential to go
through a closed phase.
Q: The word ‘minerality’
is quite often seen in wine
descriptions, what does it
A: There isn’t an exact meaning of
this term which can be used to
describe a wine’s flavour, aroma or
even texture. It is more often used
for whites than reds and usually those
produced in coolish climates, such
as Chablis, Muscadet or Galicia in
north-west Spain, for example. It aims
to communicate a certain freshness
and elegance that is not fruity or spicy
but more like (some would say), the
sensation of licking wet stones!
There is a romantic notion that the
soils in which the grapes are grown
can impart actual minerality to the
flavour of the wine, but this has been
disproved by scientists.
Q: What does it mean if a
wine is described as ‘fat’?
A: This is used to describe the
texture or mouthfeel of a wine which
is full-bodied and almost viscous in the
mouth. It is often, but not exclusively,
used in descriptions of oaked white
wines from warm climates or to
convey the almost oily feel of ripe
gewurztraminer. Full-bodied reds from
warm climates or vintages, such as
Châteauneuf-du-Pape or Barossa
shiraz, might also be described as ‘fat’
to communicate the idea that the wine
has plenty of ripe fruit, low levels of
acidity and lots of flavour.