Depressing (and Repressing) Terroir
Appellation America, that intrepid organization that is attempting to identify unique regional signatures that can be identified in wines, has posted its commentary based on a comprehensive tasting or Carneros Pinot Noirs that was conducted at Bouchaine Winery a few weeks ago. As I suspected, the analysis is a bit disturbing:
time, wine makers in Carneros began to sense that they had to work
diligently to get higher scores through elimination of the distinctive
terroir components that had marked their wines of the past."
Dan Berger, who along with Alan Goldfarb, headed up the tasting, begins his analysis of what was discovered at this tasting with the above sentence. For those of you who believe distinctive regional character is important to your wine drinking experiences you can’t be too happy with this conclusion.
The entire article is a fascinating rumination on the state of Carneros Pinot Noir, the factors that influence regional character in this vast region, and the prospects for the future of using the idea of "terroir" as a guiding principle in evaluating wine altogether.
I was at this tasting. Berger’s somewhat pessimistic conclusions match my own.
I have my own ideas on what terroir means (N + Hx(10) = T).. I believe when we speak of terroir we need to speak as much to a "culture of winemaker techniques" as we do to what nature gives us to work with. This can be a depressing notion for the die hard terroirista. However, it can also be a fascinating lens through which one comes to view and understand the art of winemaking.