Can You Define Terroir In A Single Sentence?

Ah, Terroir.


To some, it’s the Sasquatch of the wine world; its existence oft spoken of, but never proven.

To others, it’s akin to pornography. As Justice Potter Stewart famously put it in Jacobellis v. Ohio:

I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description [“hard-core pornography”]; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.

Otherwise known as the “I can’t explain it, but I know it when I see it” defense.

To still others, it’s a simple fact. The German viticulturist who brought rocks from his vineyard for guests to lick at a trade tasting in Chicago that I attended, for example.

And for still others, it’s rubbish: lies, propaganda, or worse still, marketing.

My good friend and colleague Jameson Fink (he of Wine Without Worry fame), recently decided to tackle the matter in rather unique fashion. Per his article, as it ran on BottleNotes:

We challenged ten wine professionals–from writers to sommeliers to winemakers–to come up with a compact and concise definition of terroir.

And that’s exactly what they did. Quite an illustrious lot, actually, and a group I was quite proud to find myself amongst. Terry Theise, Christopher Howell, Dr. Yiannis Paraskevopoulos, and more.

I took the challenge seriously, and in the end, decided to try and go Jameson one better; not only did I provide a single-sentence answer, but I did it in the form of a haiku!

You can read all ten definitions here: Can You Define Terroir in Just a Sentence?

How do YOU define Terroir?


“That which makes a place
unique, that produces wines

Categories: Press Reviews, Vineyards, Wine Blogs, Wine Quotes, Winemaking

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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