No doubt there has been more written on this subject than any other in the lexicon of wine fact and sometimes mythology. Like any human endeavor to control nature and ultimately production, it is both indowned with the holy and the profane, money and spirituality, great truth and sometimes absurd proclamations; It is often uttered in hushed tones as if it evokes a blessing, or casually included as just one of the tools for producing a truly wonderful bottle of wine. It is also about money and prestige,
I recently had a impromptu conversation with a wine broker in the lobby of a Hotel in Avignon. He was actually taking the opposite view of the importance of Terroir but at the same time not deviating much from the common sense of the word itself. Using his shoe he outlined one of the tiles on the lobby floor and said here are the boudaries of the Chateauneuf- Du-Pape Controlle. And this tile immediately adjacent is a vineyard of a very fine Rhone Red. To his thinking they were equally as satisfying and as they were, significantly different in price. One being 25 euros the other 130 euros. This thin line that separated the Du Pape from the Rhone was literally that, and a thin line or at most a stone wall….a couple meters between a 130 euro bottle of wine and a 25 euro bottle of wine, no matter what the rating. (add photo of wall between two plots of the same vineyard ) Caption: Different parcels of pinots noir appellation by the same producer with literally a hundred dollars difference in price separated by less than a meter.
Recently we visited Domaine Famille Picard in the Chassagne –Montrachet region of Bourgogne. The winery produces fine white boudeux and equally fine pinot noir. Each of their 30 some plots produces a unique wine based clearly on the altitude and the soil content. At the time of our tasting it was difficult to argue with the importance of Terroir as we tasted whites with more or less clay based soils and reds with more mineral base from the higher elevations of their holdings. These differences alone, in addition to the fruits, spices, other local influences, could be clearly distinguished in each of their fine wines…some portions of the vineyards going back a thousand years.
We will continue this complex subject in additions to Grapevine in the next few issues. If you wish to add your thoughts to this ongoing subject please use the comment section of...