Tag: terroir

Apr 04 2014

What’s Making Wine News

Posted on April 04, 2014 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Robert Parker on the kinky wine world of 1978 

Richard Jennings provides an excellent summary of Robert M. Parker Jr’s recent address at the Professional Wine Writers Symposium at Meadowbrook in the Napa Valley. Here’s a great Parker quip about what the wine world looked like when he just started out:

When I started in 1978, the greatest wine in Spain, Vega Sicilia, wasn’t even imported to the United States. The alleged greatest Australian wine, Penfolds Grange, wasn’t imported to the United States. There were no by-the-glass programs. Sommeliers were intimidating. They had kinky leather aprons with a lot of chains. They looked like they were working in a sex club.

One of the best Margaret River cabernet sauvignons you’ve never heard of!

Huon Hooke wrote a really interesting article for the SMH’s Good Food magazine about a boutique Margaret River winery in the sub-region of Wilyabrup called Cloudburst. Run by American Will Berliner, Cloudburst burst onto the Australian wine radar late last year when the Cloudburst Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 won trophies for Best Cabernet Sauvignon, Best Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and Best Red Wine of the Show at the prestigious Margaret River Wine Show.

The tiny, hand-tended vineyard is biodynamically farmed and most of the cabernet sauvignon vines were planted in 2005 and 2006 from Cullen and Moss Wood cuttings. (Berliner does much of the weeding by hand himself!) And up until recently the winery’s small production of cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay was only available in top US restaurants like Blue Hill and Eleven Madison Park. Hooke describes the wines are “exceptional, and rare, and very expensive.” But, according to Berliner, he doesn’t cover costs.

Greater scientific understanding of ‘terroir’ is starting to emerge

People think of ‘terroir’ as that sense of place you can find in a … Read the rest

May 05 2011

Burgundy: It’s All About the Terroir

Posted on May 05, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

But to truly understand the importance of terroir you need to appreciate the essential role it plays in imbuing the wines of Burgundy with their unique and special qualities.

Burgundy is the northern most area in Europe to produce great red wine, and a region associated with some of the finest and most expensive wines in the world. It is also the domain of the small vineyard holder. The average holding is around 6 hectares (15 acres) , and the fragmentation of estates is greatest in the region’s heart, the Côte d’Or. Burgundy also has the most complex appellation system in France, with nearly 100 different appellations spread across a 300 kilometres long region that stretches from the northernmost vineyards of Chablis to the Mediterranean influenced vineyards of the southernmost point of Beaujolais.

In Burgundy the soil and climate have an enormous influence on the style and quality of the wine. In the Côte d’Or, for example, the soil is so diverse that even neighbouring vineyards have different soil characteristics.

The Côte d’Or lies along an irregular hillside which starts just south of Dijon and stretches 50 kms in a southwesterly direction to Satenay. The best vineyards are situated on the east facing slopes to catch the morning sun. They are sheltered from the westerly rain bearing winds by a wooded escarpment that runs above the vineyards. Here the most prized soils are a mix of marlstone and scree over a calcium-rich limestone. Together with vineyard practices that favour small crops, old vines, peak ripeness picking and rigorous sorting practices, the best ‘Grand Cru’ vineyards produce complex, elegant wines with a velvety texture and an incredible depth of flavour.

Tomorrow: A look at some of the best wines of the Côte d’Or.

Photo: Link Paris

Read the rest

Nov 11 2010

Terroir: What does it mean and how is best expressed?

Posted on November 11, 2010 | By merrill@cellarit.com

On Wednesday, The Sydney Morning Herald/Age inaugural Good Wine Guide’s Winery of the Year was awarded to Henschke, the South Australian winery internationally renowned for its single vineyard Hill of Grace Shiraz. Henschke first produced Hill of Grace in 1958, and the wine is one of Australia’s earliest examples of a single-vineyard wine. Today Hill of Grace has distinguished company in the single-vineyard category. Two thirds of the 94 wines in the Good Food Wine Guide’s highest “three glass”  category are single-vineyard wines. (Singled out for greatness by Helen Pitt, The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 November 2010)

Wine critic and Good Wine Guide author Nick Stock argues that “we need to be championing wines that have a strong sense of place – what the French call terroir.” The prevalence of so many single vineyard wines in the top ranking suggests that winemakers are moving in that direction, but what exactly does terroir mean and how is it best expressed?

Jay McInerney recently wrote a very interesting article about Nicolas Joly, the proprietor of Coulée de Serrant, which is a domain in the Anjou region of the Loire Valley making world-class Savenièrres. In 2000  Joly founded Return to Terroir and is a leading champion for biodynamic viticulture. (Mr. Joly’s Particularly Pure Terroir by Jay McInerney, The Wall Street Journal, 14 October 2010)

Joly is also a “fierce defender” of the French appellation contrôllée system, which came into being in the 1930s and codified years of regional practice based on the idea that wines should uniquely reflect their terroir or place of origin. Essentially, it restricts the planting of certain varieties to specific regions. The white grape Chenin Blanc, for example, is only planted in the Loire Valley where it is deemed best suited.

Australian winemakers face no such restrictions … Read the rest