Video:What Is Terroir?with Kevin Willenborg
There is more to wine than just red or white. Terroir defines how growing environment affects fruit, especially grapes. Learn more about Terroir and how it relates to your favorite wine in this About.com video.See Transcript
Transcript:What Is Terroir?
Hi I'm Kevin Willenborg, winemaker for Vina Robles Winery in Paso Robles, here speak to you today on behalf of About.com about terroir.
Terroir Relates to Wine Origin
Terroir is the French word that basically defines an area of land and its attributes and how it affects the fruit, in our case grapes, grown within that area. It is used to help define, for example, why the same grape in one area may taste different than if grown in another, assuming that the grape growing methods are similar.
The Grapes' Environment Define Terroir
Most would agree that geology, geography, and climate are the classic components that define terroir. Geology relates to the genesis and evolution of the land over a long period of time. How it was formed and the components within it. Where one area can have more gravel and another have more clay in the soil, for example, relates to the geological make up. The composition of the soil has a great impact on the vines ability to grow, accumulate moisture and nutrients, as well as ripen the fruit.
Geography mainly relates to the topography when talking about terroir. Some call it the lay of the land. Is the area high in elevation or in a low lying valley? Close to the ocean or far inland, away from water? Is it on a slope facing north or south? All of this affects how climate interacts with the area.
Climate relates to the combined attributes, such as temperature, wind, humidity, precipitation, atmospheric pressure, and solar radiation that an area experiences. All of which affects the vines growing conditions and resulting fruit expression. Terroir is the basis of what has defined appellations around the world. It is used to define and differentiate areas thousands of miles appart or even areas within the same vineyard itself.
Here we are standing in our Huerohuero Vineyard, named for the adjacent creek nearby. The characters found in our Petit Sirah grape, one of the varieties that we grow here, for example, typically express dark fruit tones with supple tannins. While the same grape from our Creston Vineyard, just a few miles south-east, express more raspberry fruit tones and a denser tannin structure in the finished wine. So even just a few miles apart, the geology, geography, and climate vary enough to influence those differences, that's terroir.
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