Little Epiphanies About Dirt

Today was one of those days you I am thrilled, rather than just happy, to be in the business I am in. I organized a meeting of a number of vintners and growers, all working in the same appellation, with a writer. They were there to explain why their appellation is really the pioneering edge of Cabernet production in Napa.

That said, I had a little epiphany while sitting, enthralled, listening to their fascinating, rambling conversation on terroir, history, grapegrowing, challenges and their wines’ character.

It occurred to me whenever you have a wine that is not a single vineyard bottling, you really must remove soil from your terroir equation.

I know..."duh". But the reason I think I’d never thought about that is due to way people like myself, marketers, as well as writers and many wine enthusiasts talk about terroir. How often do you hear people talk about "the terroir of the Russian River Valley"; or "Anderson Valley’s terroir" or "Napa Valley terroir"? Inside each of these relatively large appellations there will be literally 1000s of different soil profiles. You can’t make a wine from different vineyards inside Russian River Valley and expect to portray any particular soil.

Why is this important? It’s important because it demonstrates that if you are looking for a wine that reflects or demonstrates a "sense of place" or Terroir, if you really are a "terroirista" then you can’t really look for your epiphany in anything other than a single vineyard wine. Remember this the next time someone says they just love the how the wine they are drinking reflects the terroir of Russian River Valley.

Posted In: Terroir


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