Terroir vs. Varietal Typicity???

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Re: Terroir vs. Varietal Typicity???

Postby Jenise » Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:30 am

Joy Lindholm wrote:There are so many great factors in what encompasses terroir - soil type and nutrients, elevation, sunlight exposure, weather, etc. that it is hard to generalize in a broad sense (ie. California wines do not display terroir because it is too hot). Many wines lose their essence of terroir (and typicity) due to over-ripening or manipulation in the cellar, but when you narrow it down to a specific region (and decent wine making), you can really see where little differences like temperature and elevation make a difference. I just returned from Willamette Valley and left with a great understanding of the different AVAs and their microclimates, soil types, etc, whereas previously I just thought in the broader spectrum "Willamette Valley Pinot Noir". The method is far from scientific, but when you taste Pinot (or any variety) from the same producer made from grapes from different locations in the same winemaking style, you start to see how the different areas stand out. I'm sure the same is true in Burgundy and other areas like Germany where Rieslings made by the same producers show very differently based on where they were grown.

I hope you'll post some tasting notes and impressions (in a separate thread, of course.) Or did I miss it?
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Re: Terroir vs. Varietal Typicity???

Postby Steve Slatcher » Mon Dec 31, 2012 9:46 am

Peter May wrote:
Steve Slatcher wrote: I am not sure I agree, Peter. Surely it is perfectly reasonable to compare any bottles that have Pinot Noir on the label, and arrive at a concept of Pinot Noirness, while accepting that other variables (clones, minor additions of other grapes, terroir) may be adding some noise?

Maybe I misunderstood. I thought it was discussing how much difference terroir makes. There is so much difference between PN from different clones that I can't see that one could lay difference between two PNs from different areas as solely down to terroir.

I agree with you that terroir is just one factor, winemaking, yeasts, barrels make just as much or more difference.

OK - I think it was a misunderstanding. Mine probably. I certainly agree that different clones are one of the potential confounding factors when comparing terroirs.

Root stock is another. Considering that the root stock is the interface to the soil I am a little surprised it is mentioned so little by terroirists.
Last edited by Steve Slatcher on Mon Dec 31, 2012 10:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Terroir vs. Varietal Typicity???

Postby Steve Slatcher » Mon Dec 31, 2012 10:08 am

Hoke wrote:Or I have opened three bottles of the same wine and presented them as three different glasses, without comment or narration, for a taster's review.

Next time, try telling the tasters they are from different terroirs ;)
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Re: Terroir vs. Varietal Typicity???

Postby Brian Gilp » Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:35 am

Steve Slatcher wrote:Root stock is another. Considering that the root stock is the interface to the soil I am a little surprised it is mentioned so little by terroirists

I don't think that many people understand the extent of the role of rootstock. I have vines on 101-14 and Riparia rootstock but no where is the same clone on both rootstock. Still, I can't see a difference between the two of them in any obvious way such as vigor or drought tolerance. I have asked some of the commercial growers in my region and they don't report much difference either. That being said, 101-14 and Riparia have replaced 3309 as the east coast standard due to its lower vigor characteristics and they have become more common in California as well. The newest kid on the block is 420A which according to the growers I talked with does show lower vigor than 101-14 and Riparia. All of this is Mid-Atlantic US specific where vigor is often the biggest concern for rootstock decision and rainfall in most years is of sufficient levels that the vines do not need to be as deep rooted as most of the older rootstocks (St. George, 1103, SO4, 5C, etc.). For us on the east coast vine balance, i.e. managing vigor is one of the biggest challenges to grape quality so rootstock directly impacts the resulting wine.

As for transfer of soil characteristics to the grape and resulting wine, there is much debate on the impact of roots below 18 inches of depth of which I am not qualified to discuss. Throw in modern irrigation which can render the rootstocks lazy and impact the ability of even the deepest rooted to dig deep since all the water it needs is applied by man and is captured in the first few feet of soil and it all gets real complicated real fast. Not sure how much difference there is between rootstocks when drip irrigation is used and all the work is within the first few feet of soil depth. Also, the more shallow rooted systems and modern irrigation methods result in mans decisions having more control over the end product based on how much water to apply, when to apply and how.
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Re: Terroir vs. Varietal Typicity???

Postby JC (NC) » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:33 pm

I find differences in Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley compared to Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast. I'm not sure that in a blind tasting I could state with certainty that this wine is from the Russian River Valley or from the Sonoma Coast but I do find certain characteristics in the two terroirs. Some California AVAs do make sense to me.
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Re: Terroir vs. Varietal Typicity???

Postby Brian K Miller » Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:13 pm

Hoke wrote:It's the U.S. individualism-dominates versus the communal viewpoint of the Euro. That, and the reality that most U.S. winemakers aren't farmers---they're either entrepreneurs or businesspeople/corporations. Where many of the Euro winemakers are still family and farmers first, and business entities second.

Outside of residing within a specific designated geographic boundary, Signorello and Darioush are not only not required to have any similarities, similarities are actively discouraged. "Very similar to and reminiscent of your next door neighbor" is not something a Napa Valley winery owner wants to hear. :D

Makes sense, Hoke! Great summary.
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