One of the six taste sensations (besides bitter, fatty, sour, sweet, umami) which is mainly perceived in the front part of the tongue. However, this taste sensation also depends on the wine temperature and is intensified at low temperatures. The quantitatively most important substances with salty taste in wine are the inorganic minerals potassium, magnesium, sodium and calcium. The vine absorbs these inorganic substances from the soil.
In the grape and later in the wine produced from it, the minerals are mainly present as salts of organic acids. The most common organic acids of these salts are tartrate(tartaric acid), malate(malic acid), lactate(lactic acid), succinate(succinic acid) and citrate(citric acid). The organic acids are formed by the vine itself or are produced by yeasts or bacteria during the fermentation and maturation of the wine. The concentration of these salty tasting substances in the wine can vary greatly. Usually it is 2 to 5 g/l of inorganic minerals and 5 to 20 g/l of organic acids, as salts together 7 to 25 g/l.
When talking about wine, one should distinguish between salty taste and the mineral aroma that some wines have, although salty and mineral are often used synonymously. The mineral impression can, but does not have to be due to the listed salts. A mineral taste impression can, for example, be caused by free sulphur or sulphites due to the sulphurisation of the wine. Some phenols or the sulphur-containing thiols can also give a mineral impression, although they are organic substances and not inorganic minerals.
Wines with a salty aroma are also referred to as alkaline in the context of a wine-tasting and are assigned to the mineral tones. Certain types of soil are often cited as the reason for this. Typical is a salty taste for wines from the French Chablis, the Spanish Manzanilla(sherry) or the Italian Bardolino called Salato. However, this taste is not only related to the soil. Certain grape varieties such as Arvine from Valais can also be responsible.