Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Some tasting notes refer to a wine as “pebbly.” I cannot find this descriptor defined anywhere; what does it mean when talking about a wine?
—Dennis R., East Windsor, Conn.
“Pebbly” refers to pebbles or stones, which are under the larger umbrella of “mineral” notes as a wine term. I’ve written about the trickiness of trying to describe mineral terms in the past by saying they are hard to communicate because they fall into the category of “things we recognize in wine but we don’t usually put in our mouths.”
Of all the different ways to describe a mineral note in wine, “pebbly” is probably one of the most accessible. If you ever licked a stone (as a kid, naturally) or remember the smell of wet pebbles, that’s what this term is referring to. I sometimes find other mineral notes in wine, including the smell of cement after rain, the aromas of standing next to a hot brick wall, iron, loam, chalk, flint or slate. They all are slight variations on the same theme, and depending on the context, might evoke certain sensations of a wine’s mouthfeel—after all, pebbles are smooth and chalk is drying.
Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...
Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more
Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.
Passionate about wine? Wine Spectator magazine is looking for an enthusiastic copy editor in the New York office.
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions
New! Ratings Flash