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Terroir: Inescapable Fact or Hocus Pocus Mumbo Jumbo Whiffle Whaffle

A recent article Wine Spectator reveals an Argentinian, scientific study which proves that the soils on which vineyards grow leave an indelible stamp on the wine produced in that place. Winemakers have been banging on about this for years. This conglomerate of affairs, the interplay of the vine with the weather, geology, natural habitat, even the gentle hand of the winemaker.

This thing is called 'Terroir' and up until now has been more philosophy than fact.

However, anyone who has ever had a glass of Chablis or Mosel Riesling can attest that there is definitely 'something' going on there. An undefined freshness which we called 'mineral' for a bit, before we realised that meant nothing in particular, except that wine lovers were as undoubtedly pompous and full of merde de tareau as the rest of the world always suspected.

The concept of Terrior is not only applied to wine either. It is very much in the vocabulary of coffee, tomato and tea growers, even livestock farmers. For them no science was required to tell them that Terroir, like some kind of ethereal being, 'existed'. They have the windswept hair, the touch of the sun, upon their skin, the soil under their nails. They have always known.

3 Wines for Terroirists

Dr Loosen Red Slate Dry Riesling 2019 (Mosel, Germany)

A fruity, dry white wine from a small corner of the Mosel Valley which has a unique red slate soil.  This wine is fermented with wild yeasts in 3000l neutral oak casks, which soften the natural acidity and add texture and complexity without imparting any flavour.  This wine has an intense stoniness with floral, spicy citrus aromas and a lovely balanced palate.  Ideal with fish and shellfish, as well as oriental cuisine.  £13.95

2019 Chablis, Bernard Defaix (Burgundy, France)

Chablis is arguably the ultimate terriorists wine. This is taught, fresh, powerful, ternacious. A dominance of nervy, stony notes, along with delicate touches of citrus fruit; lemon and grapefruit. This wine can be enjoyed over the next 2 years, an excellent match for seafood. £25.95

2018 Formiga de Vellut, Domini de Cartoixa (Priorat, Spain)

The Licorella slate soils of Priorat have long been famous for producing powerful, rich but fresh red wines.  A blend of Garnatxa, Samso (aka Carignan), and Syrah.  Blackberry and cassis fruit flavours with touxhes of spice: pure, rich and rounded.  £19.95




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