5/16/08

Let’s Talk Terroir

Not those little dogs. Those are called Terriers

And I’m not talking about a scary move. That would be terror…

This is more of a wine and dirt conversation.

Did I really say “dirt”..?

Terroir (roughly pronounced “ter-WAH”)

If you tend to drink the occasional glass or four of wine, at some point you have run across this word. It may have even made you cross-eyed or induced a headache.

Terroir is one of those words that doesn’t have an exact translation, but I can get you pretty close to the meaning. It would almost be like going up to a grapevine and telling it “wherever you are, there it is”.

Or how ‘bout this one – you know the famous real estate saying “location, location, location”? It just so happens that this phrase applies to wine as well. All the environmental factors of a particular location, even down to sections of single vineyards, can impart certain nuances to a wine. Are the vines growing in rocky soil? Are they on a hillside? What is the microclimate at this location? How is the drainage?

All this and more is a part of terroir. And it all affects the final product, what you taste in the wine. It’s sense of place.

Have you noticed how a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley has different characteristics than one from Chili or France (Bordeaux)? This is a very broad angle view, but certainly a basic example of how terroir works.

Now that you have been terroir-ized, open a bottle and enjoy…

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