“Wine is the only example from the plant world that allows man to grasp the flavour of the earth”….
The definition of Terroir by Colette, Burgundian Writer, 1873-1954
Ultimately, the glass of wine you are drinking is an expression of its terroir…the geology, the soil, the weather, the topography, the aroma…its “sense of place”. The word “terroir” is derived from the Latin “terra”, which translates to “earth”. Terroir is one of the reasons wines differ from area to area…why a particular grape is better suited to one area and not another. Grapes of the same variety from adjacent plots may have different characteristics that affect aroma and taste. Of course, the winemaker is another major factor in the end result, but that’s a discussion for another time.
“Terroir” at the cave below Chateau Malartic Lagraviere, Passac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France October 2011
Wines from California are different from wines of Oregon. Wines from Australia are different from wines of France. Wines from Burgundy are different from those in Bordeaux and other regions in France. Italian wines in the Piedmont are different from those in Tuscany. And, in California, wines from the Central Coast are different from those in Napa or Sonoma. Napa is different from Sonoma. Wines from the northern Central Coast are different from those in Santa Barbara. In Burgundy, wines from one plot or “clos” can be different from those in an adjacent one. You get the picture. Terroir, that “sense of place” makes each vineyard and each region unique.
Terroir adds to wine’s mystique and makes it so interesting to me. When I put my nose to the glass and ingest the aroma, my brain goes to that earth where I imagine the grapes were grown. I become a part of the wine…its scent, its taste, its terroir.
Four examples of terroir in Oregon…Willakenzie, Nekia, Jory and Sedimentary.
Until next time…à votre santé !
The beautiful grapes in the header of this blog are Cabernet Sauvignon at the Croix de Mission vineyard at Domaine des Rochelles that I photographed in Anjou, in the Loire Valley of France, on September 24, 2011. I spent a lovely day at Le Tasting Room with Cathy and Nigel Henton at their picturesque property. I enjoyed a tutored tasting and presentation about the wines of the region, a wonderful wine and food pairing luncheon in their cave and a tour of the vineyards where the grapes were photographed.