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What Does ‘Flinty’ Mean in Wine?

Getty / Evan de Normandie

The term ‘flinty’ may not be terribly familiar to the average wine drinker. An uncommon terroir profile note found in many white wines has significant contributions, although imbibers may have a hard time describing it outside of the usual fruit aromas.

“Flint is found in dry, crisp, acidic white wines and has a minerally taste impression,” says Stu Woodward, wine manager of Mystic Wine Shoppe in Arlington, Massachusetts. “The aroma would be like striking a flint (match) against hard metal.”

France’s Loire Valley Sauvignon Blancs like Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé are excellent varietal examples that showcase the Loire’s signature flinty terroir. The region’s stony soil is the result of millions of years of erosion that have brought the about the varied soil characteristics that comprise the Loire Valley landscape.