Alex Maltman, a renowned UK geologist, found no scientific proof that limestone is key to wine quality. Yet, much of the world's greatest wine terroirs are rich in limestone. Is it just amazing coincidence? Incidentally, I wonder what his findings are of slate.

Limestone is just as intriguing in saké. In Japan, limestone soils are rare, so very few saké are made with water from limestone. I know at least one, Tedorigawa Saké from Yoshida Brewing in Ishikawa, that uses water with limestone.

Keizou Ishida, the toji at Matsuse Brewery, believes in the beneficial attributes of limestone in saké. He told me to perform an experiment. Pour a taste of Matsunotsukasa Raku in two glasses. In one of the glasses put two drops of Evian water, then taste the glasses and see the difference. It's incredible! The one with the Evian has a more intense mid-palate and finish.

Keizou, of course, knew this already, that's why he told me to do the exercise.

So does limestone have no effect on wine or saké, as scientific analysis points out? Maybe I just imagined the taste of that saké with the Evian water. And maybe those who taste the wines of Burgundies from the best sites just imagined them, too.

Back to blog