Definition - What does Earthy mean?

"Earthy'" is a term used to describe an aroma or flavor of a wine that is reminiscent of earthy characteristics. It is the opposite of a "fruity" wine. Some specific aromas of an earthy wine are:

  • Mushrooms
  • Dusty
  • Wet stone
  • A forest floor
  • Autumn leaves

In addition, it can refer to wines which can slightly dry out one's palate due to the tannin present in the wine.

WineFrog explains Earthy

An earthy characteristic found in wines is often associated with those from terroir driven regions where expressing fruit in wines is not foremost. Certain varietals and styles of some wines which are commonly associated with earthy notes are:

  • Pinot Noir
  • Merlot
  • Gamay
  • Grenache
  • An herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc
  • Chablis
  • Some Champagnes

Whether a wine is earthy or otherwise often depends on when the grapes are harvested and the manner in which the winemaker chooses to express the grapes in the wine.