Water Sommelier Jessica Altieri Gives You 5 Minute Guide to Drinking Better Water
Where does your water come from?
It’s not something we think about every day when we turn on the tap. But let me ask you this…when you have a choice, do you prefer to order a mineral water?
Mineral water tastes better because of where it comes from.
When it bubbles forth from layers of rock in the ground, or filters down through high mountains, it brings with it a combination of minerals in various strengths. This is what gives it taste. This is its ‘terroir’, as wine buffs call the environment the grape comes from.
Types of Water
Let’s start by looking at the various types of water you drink and define exactly what they are.
Tap: Originates from large wells, lakes, rivers or reservoirs and is processed as per Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards
Spring: Originates from a confirmed spring source. It may contain minerals, but non-mineral spring water is common. Check the label.
Mineral: Contains at least 250 parts per million (ppm) of trace minerals. It originates from underground water source and natural carbonation is common
Still or Sparkling: Some mineral waters have natural carbonation. Others are still. Some waters have carbonation added artificially, like soda waters.
Seltzer: Artificial carbonation added to water
Club Soda: Has added flavour
Tonic Water: Is bitter in taste and has calories
Artesian: Uses an Artesian Aquifier to pump water from deeper layers to the surface[CM1]
Water’s Terroir: Really a Thing?
We regularly discuss the terroir of wine but the way in which the geographic region affects the flavor and properties of wine, is also applicable to fine mineral water. Marrying and melding with its minerals and rainfall, landscape and soil, water – as much as wine – has a strong element of terroir.
The main components of terroir are all represented in the waters of the world, especially those that are bottled for consumption. Climate: check. Everything is subject to weather. Soil and terrain: check. All water flows through it to end up underground, mingling with minerals. Tradition: check. Many of the great water companies will tell you on their websites exactly how they harvest their water.
Terroir? Water has it in spades.
Different terroirs produce varying levels of minerals such as Calcium, Magnesium and Sodium. These minerals, which are present at different levels based on geography and other factors, have a marked impact on the taste and mouthfeel of water.
So, as you might expect, different kinds of water pair better with different types of food, just as wine does. Additionally, the quality and type of water used in coffee and tea have a significant impact on the taste of the beverage and can also alter the taste profile of a glass of wine or an entire meal.
Enjoy your next glass of water and remember; “All Water Is NOT Equal”.