If you like wine, or more so love it, you’ll most likely encounter many fancy words that describe “wine.” It can get overwhelming and quite confusing. When I was studying about wine and my brain was being bombarded with new and big words, one really stuck to me, and that word was Terroir. This is probably one of the most important words one needs to get a grasp of when it comes to wine.
Terroir can be described as the physical geography or general appearance of an area. That is the simplest translation, but terroir is much more than just the general appearance of an area.
Let’s simplify what terroir really means. Take for example two wines from two different vineyards, in the same village, with the same grapes that are separated by a few meters. These wines will have their similarities, yet they will be different as well. Take the test; grab 2 bottles of wine with the same characteristics as I previously described and taste them. Regardless if you’re a beginner or more experienced in wine, you will notice the difference, believe me. What makes these two wines different? TERROIR!
There are three main elements to Terroir:
Soil: The components that make up the soil
Climate: The overall climate of a region, microclimate and macroclimate
People: The skills and knowledge of the locals (some of whom have inherited such that dates back a few generations)
Terroir is the essence of a place – its signature. It is what’s unique, non-reproducible, and singular about a particular vineyard. Terroir is what makes one place different from another one.
To sum it all up, these 3 main elements all contribute to terroir and it is essential because they all influence the grape, and therefore, the wine. Terroir is the reason why some wines are more coveted than the other. It is terroir wherein new vineyards make their name. It is terroir that separates good wine from great wine. And it is terroir that attract wine lovers all over.