Terroir and Wine – Handing Mother Nature the Lore
作者:    发布于:2015-10-22 17:34:35    文字:【】【】【

We have talked a lot about the process of how good wines are made but have neglected one of the most important factors that influence the taste of a quality wine. The Soil. The soil in which the grapes grow is key to a great harvest and a great wine. That many wine connoisseurs can agree on. But exactly what influences the quality and taste of the grapes is still to be completely unraveled by science. Because as of now, when it comes to growing grapes, different philosophies reap great results. The European approach to the evaluation of the soil is to take its organic components into consideration. What minerals are in the soil that might leave traces in the final product? Is the ground made of limestone, granite, sandstone or something else? The American and Australian approach, however, is to focus more on the structure of the soil.

When it comes down to it, both philosophies are not wrong. There are a myriad of factors that play a role in the production of quality wines. Warm, loose, dry soils with just the right amount of organic materials for the plants to feast on are paramount for growing a healthy, savory grape. Additionally, the composition of a soil can give the final product a specific flavor note. In fact, the most successful grape varieties are grown on soils that would otherwise be less suitable for any other varieties. Port grows on granite and slate, Bordeaux on gravel, sand and clay soil, Mosel on slate soil and Chateauneuf-du-Pape likes a stony soil.

So the soil is important but it would be too simple if that was all there is to growing a successful grape. Even though the romans were cultivating wine in Europe thousands of years ago, one cannot deny that the French took it to the next level quality wise. As a result, an interesting term, which has its roots in the French language, was coined: Terroir, meaning Land. But Terroir is more than just land and soil. It is a seemingly infinite number of factors that influence the wine’s taste before it is bottled. Moisture, day and night cycles, winds, sunlight, temperature, the soils ability to absorb water etcetera. All that is terroir.
This means that even though there are factors that we are able to control and influence during the production of wine, which takes years of experience to perfect, the foundation is already laid out before a single grape has sprung from the vine.


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