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CHAPTER 9

Wine-growing soils

Geology (from the Greek guê -earth, and logos -knowledge) is the science that explains the nature of the materials that make up the earth. The relationship between soil and wine is one of the most complex issues that can, at times, border on the esoteric. Do we really understand what minerals, rocks, stones, salinity or chemical structure are? Does the plant absorb minerals?

In fact, in many books and webpages, and especially, in advertising, it is typical to read of aromas and flavours supposedly directly related to the type of soil: “This wine tastes of slate”, “A touch of graphite is noticeable”… Generalising statements like this -which are considered valid and are regularly repeated uncritically- are ambiguous, superfluous and, although they may be very attractive to consumers, have little scientific basis.

This chapter attempts to clarify these concepts and analyse the truth in them, looking at the latest research on one of the most important and confusing issues: What does soil contribute to wine in an organoleptic sense?

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