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Terroir Wars - Does the Earth Have a Flavor?


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He's also gone on record saying that all Sancerre rouge is crap.

:o The DEVIL, you say! I know several folks with names like Crochet, Boulay, Vatan who would beg to differ, but I think that anyone who wine-gasms over big, high-alcohol Aussie reds and then swiftly dismisses lighter, more delicate Loire Valley Pinot Noir has certainly demonstrated the limits of their wine understanding.

There are plenty of wines that I simply don't care for which still demonstrate terroir, conscientious winegrowing and are worthwhile. Just because they aren't MY thing, I'm not going to simply dismiss them.

To each their own. This is why Baskin-Robbins has 31 flavors and why we carry more than just a dozen kinds of wine. I like to think that we have something for everyone.

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It's my oldest mantra. Just because a wine smells good and tastes good doesn't mean it is good AS A WINE (versus AS A BEVERAGE). And conversely, just because a wine doesn't smell good or taste good doesn't mean it isn't good. Wine is a different animal, because it is a window into the souls of the earth and those who work it.

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There are plenty of wines that I simply don't care for which still demonstrate terroir, conscientious winegrowing and are worthwhile. Just because they aren't MY thing, I'm not going to simply dismiss them.
The key point here is demonstrating terroir, or more broadly, "expressiveness" of a site and a tradition. Plenty of people don't like vin jaune (more for me, I say), but you can't say vin jaune isn't expressive. Excessive ripeness (blueberry in tempranillo?) and wood tannin robs expressiveness in many cases.
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It's my oldest mantra. Just because a wine smells good and tastes good doesn't mean it is good AS A WINE (versus AS A BEVERAGE). And conversely, just because a wine doesn't smell good or taste good doesn't mean it isn't good. Wine is a different animal, because it is a window into the souls of the earth and those who work it.
Jake, forgive me, I appreciate your philosophy and your poetic soul, but the soul of the earth could be dung. If it picks it up and mirrors it and makes the wine not taste good, then it doesn't do anyone any good. It is just bad wine.
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It's my oldest mantra. Just because a wine smells good and tastes good doesn't mean it is good AS A WINE (versus AS A BEVERAGE). And conversely, just because a wine doesn't smell good or taste good doesn't mean it isn't good. Wine is a different animal, because it is a window into the souls of the earth and those who work it.
I don't know...seems like this is the sort of talk that leads people to be afraid of wine because they can't speak the right mystical bullshit. There's a happy medium between that and "It's faaaaabulous!!1!!!"
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I don't know...seems like this is the sort of talk that leads people to be afraid of wine because they can't speak the right mystical bullshit. There's a happy medium between that and "It's faaaaabulous!!1!!!"

Or maybe not afraid of wine, but reluctant to talk about it here. Messrs Rockwell, Riley and Parrott (and a few others) can come down pretty hard on those who enjoy wines they consider uncool. :o

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I would love to be able to describe the floral notes, the cassis, the tobacco, pepper, etc., in a wine. I find myself limited to a few little things I can detect, otherwise I think the best description for me, as a sage poster on here once said, "It is DARN TASTY!".

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Or maybe not afraid of wine, but reluctant to talk about it here. Messrs Rockwell, Riley and Parrott (and a few others) can come down pretty hard on those who enjoy wines they consider uncool. :o

I resemble that remark :lol:

No, I honestly want wine consumers to drink what they enjoy, but what frustrates me are when folks have closed-minds about trying something different than their everyday quaff. After all, we aren't born knowing this stuff, and at some point, everyone who drinks wine has "taken a chance", so why stop there? My favorite moments are when I can encourage someone to try a wine that they might never have tried before, and they report back to me just how good it was and how they thoroughly enjoyed it, that I've broadened their wine horizons. I live for those, "A-ha!" moments of vinous epiphany. That's kind of what I think this is all about.

What's that old saw, "Life's too short to drink bad wine"? I substitute "boring" for "bad", because there's just too much good wine out there for folks to enjoy these days. Winegrowers are becoming more conscientious and consumers more savvy because of the increased availability of good information. We live in good times for wine enjoyment. :P

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Understood, and my earlier thoughts are something of an asymptote. But if you never try something challenging, you never taste some thing that's truly new. And sorting through the credibility (or lack thereof) in your own mind of a more challenging wine is one of the most engaging aspects of drinking wine.

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I resemble that remark :lol:

No, I honestly want wine consumers to drink what they enjoy, but what frustrates me are when folks have closed-minds about trying something different than their everyday quaff. After all, we aren't born knowing this stuff, and at some point, everyone who drinks wine has "taken a chance", so why stop there? My favorite moments are when I can encourage someone to try a wine that they might never have tried before, and they report back to me just how good it was and how they thoroughly enjoyed it, that I've broadened their wine horizons. I live for those, "A-ha!" moments of vinous epiphany. That's kind of what I think this is all about.

What's that old saw, "Life's too short to drink bad wine"? I substitute "boring" for "bad", because there's just too much good wine out there for folks to enjoy these days. Winegrowers are becoming more conscientious and consumers more savvy because of the increased availability of good information. We live in good times for wine enjoyment. :P

Joe, I don't discriminate. I like all wine! :o I do agree with you that one should venture out. Though like always tastes are subjective and seasonal. What I like this year, I may hate next year.
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I would love to be able to describe the floral notes, the cassis, the tobacco, pepper, etc., in a wine. I find myself limited to a few little things I can detect, otherwise I think the best description for me, as a sage poster on here once said, "It is DARN TASTY!".

Not to pick on this specific post, but there is no need to get into that detail. And there is not any need to state if the wine is an excellent example of the style. Sure there are some on the board that will know that, and hopefully chime in with supportive posts. If the first post (or any other wine post) had a simple description along the lines of "ripe black fruits, some astringency (tannins), and earth with a medium finish" would be great. Saying that it is an excellent wine for the money and darn tasty provides no insight to those that have no idea about the reviewer. How many posts do we have describing food in excruciating detail in the other forum? Obviously folks have no problem tasting certain things in food, so they should have no problem tasting certain things in wine.

So come on folks, give it a try. Next time you taste a wine, think about what you are tasting and write down in general terms what you think it tastes like. Post or talk to other people and see what they think. Over time you will be able to detect certain things that you never thought you could. Hell I did it.

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Not to pick on this specific post, but there is no need to get into that detail. And there is not any need to state if the wine is an excellent example of the style. Sure there are some on the board that will know that, and hopefully chime in with supportive posts. If the first post (or any other wine post) had a simple description along the lines of "ripe black fruits, some astringency (tannins), and earth with a medium finish" would be great. Saying that it is an excellent wine for the money and darn tasty provides no insight to those that have no idea about the reviewer. How many posts do we have describing food in excruciating detail in the other forum? Obviously folks have no problem tasting certain things in food, so they should have no problem tasting certain things in wine.

So come on folks, give it a try. Next time you taste a wine, think about what you are tasting and write down in general terms what you think it tastes like. Post or talk to other people and see what they think. Over time you will be able to detect certain things that you never thought you could. Hell I did it.

That was my whole point, I can detect some things, but I (and I am speaking for myself) would rather not post about it. The reason has already been stated here. If your opinion is contrary to what some others think, you will get beat up about it.

Someone PM'd me today and stated that they do not post on the wine forum for the same reason. Also, look and see how many women actually post on here. You guys need to let up just a bit.

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I would love to be able to describe the floral notes, the cassis, the tobacco, pepper, etc., in a wine. I find myself limited to a few little things I can detect, otherwise I think the best description for me, as a sage poster on here once said, "It is DARN TASTY!".
You are not alone. :o On the other hand, I tend to listen to jparrott when he suggests wine pairings. I had some of the Negly Rouge in the bar at Corduroy before dinner. It wasn't what I would consider a good wine to just sip in a bar. However, it went very, very well with the cassoulet. Who knew? I can't describe wines, either. Dame Edna and I just crack up reading some wines reviews: "hints of tobacco, chocolate, tar, forest floor . . ." Sheesh!
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You are not alone. :o On the other hand, I tend to listen to jparrott when he suggests wine pairings. I had some of the Negly Rouge in the bar at Corduroy before dinner. It wasn't what I would consider a good wine to just sip in a bar. However, it went very, very well with the cassoulet. Who knew? I can't describe wines, either. Dame Edna and I just crack up reading some wines reviews: "hints of tobacco, chocolate, tar, forest floor . . ." Sheesh!
According to Parker one of the flavors of this wine is "scorched earth". When I read that I tried to imagine if by that he meant that it tastes like a cross between burned farms and Mongolian pony crap.
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You are not alone. :o On the other hand, I tend to listen to jparrott when he suggests wine pairings. I had some of the Negly Rouge in the bar at Corduroy before dinner. It wasn't what I would consider a good wine to just sip in a bar. However, it went very, very well with the cassoulet. Who knew? I can't describe wines, either. Dame Edna and I just crack up reading some wines reviews: "hints of tobacco, chocolate, tar, forest floor . . ." Sheesh!
I trust Jake too (with wine :lol: ). But he is a professional. It is intimidating to those of us who can't tell scorched earth from leather :P to post on here since we are not at his level, yet we do know what we enjoy. I took a wine class eons ago, (Window's on the World), but that only helps a little.
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I trust Jake too (with wine :o ). But he is a proffesional. It is intimidating to those of us who can't tell scorched earth from leather :lol: to post on here since we are not at his level, yet we do know what we enjoy. I took a wine class eons ago, (Window's on the World), but that only helps a little.

That is exactly why I recommended talking in more general terms about the wines. I repeat myself, I am sure that all the folks that can describe specifics about food can describe wines. Then others may talk in more specifics and thats how everyone can learn something.

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I don't know...seems like this is the sort of talk that leads people to be afraid of wine because they can't speak the right mystical bullshit. There's a happy medium between that and "It's faaaaabulous!!1!!!"

Contrary to everything you've ever heard or read, there really is only one kind of wine in the world: The kind you like.

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I have resisted chiming in on this one for a while, but I cannot resist...

I don't quite agree with Mark S's mantra but its waaaaay close to mine. While I am of the belief that wine cannot be judged absolutely, I also think that we need to take a little deeper look and not just say I like this. But the deeper look I advocate has nothing to do with scores and shoulds and shouldn'ts. I think that if you are going to get more for your money in wine, you need to have a personal relationship with a real live person who can get to know your taste and whose recommendations you can calibrate to your own likes and dislikes. That is a particular person at an old fashioned retailer (or a small number of them), a restaurateur wine maven, a friend, your spouse etc. Hopefully this person actually tastes more wines than you do so they have more perspective than you do.

A few general points:

The problem with "Drink what you like"-- the most popular food in the world is the Mickey D's hamburger in all its ghastly iterations. By far. Thus all our blather about which burger is the best in DC is all spitting into the wind by the drink what you like school of thought taken to an extreme. Yellowtail is not the best chardonnay, Mickey D's is not the best burger, Bud is not the best beer, etc, because people, when exposed to other stuff, abandon the mass produced crud in a New York second. (how does a New York second differ from a DC second? Is it higher rated?—but I digress)

Wine, like food, is a medium for personality to shine through. If you don't want personality with your wine, drink Yellowtail or Clos du Bois. Myself? I would rather perform root canal on myself with rusty pliers while walking on hot coals. Corporate wine by definition is boring. It is wine designed not to offend that meets the need of marketing. As you blend larger and larger amounts of wine together, the law of large numbers kicks in and the resultant blend moves closer and closer to the common denominator of the individual lots involved. This is a scientific fact. Blending can lead to complexity and personality up to a point, but at some point, different for different terroirs and grapes, further blending just takes away from the personality of the wine.

Wine is a product of history. Vines have a productive life from 20 to 100 years. Wine has been around as a major store of value that can be documented back 1000's of years. In the Roman republic, when one writer wanted to insult another, he disparaged their wine. I forget who, but one famed Roman spoke of another as being as sour as the Falernum he keeps in his cellar. Without some understanding of the history of a particular area, it wines and foods and how they developed over time, you cannot get the full richness of the experience. And if you do get some of the context, and you don't like the wine, try something else! All wine growing areas in the world don't need to make merlot. And I believe that most folk who do not taste wine for a living would be hard pressed to tell the difference between Merlot from various countries the way it is being made today.

Scores don't matter AND they are never wrong. When Robert Parker or one of his minions give a score, it is 100% correct, every time. For that person. A score is a simple shorthand of one person's opinion of a given wine. Nothing more or less. What differs is how USEFUL that opinion is to others. Many find Robert Parker's scores useful. I personally do not. In fact, quote them to me and I will probably be less inclined to do business with you. But that his scores are useful to many (including those in the wine business whose vision of excellent wine making is to receive a score over 94 from Mr. P and his minions) is self evident. My scores are also useful. Wine is a major driver in my restaurant and people react positively to my comments. I have people who scour the list to look for wines marked "Don't drink this wine!" knowing that this is probably the highest accolade I bestow on a wine. My scores ain't as useful as Mr. Parker and my income is not as great, but that is another matter. I fyou find Mr. Parkers scores a perfect guide, go fo it. Be my guest. But your view of what wine can be will be narrower than mine. But looking at all the threads on the Mark Squires BB on eBob, all I can tell is that tons of people find RP's scores less than useful, some of the time. The longest threads usually are about wine that score too highly or too low in some peoples minds. And sometimes the participants in these endless and virulent squables have actually tasted the wines in question!

Wine can and should be judged in two ways. Do you like it (Mark Slater and others)? And Is it good for what it is (Jake P)? Thus you can like a wine called Brunello di Montalcino on the label that has nothing to do with what Brunello di Montalcino is all about, especially if the taster doesn't know the context of Brunello. Our obsession with scores means that if this wine gets high scores, them more wines similar to it will arrive on the scene. Too bad that folk do not take the time, nor are they led, to the wonderful world of wines made traditionally that are based on terroir an have passion.

This week, I went to a major wine distributor's trade tasting. I went to a particular table with wines all made under the same umbrella but each carrying its own label for different varietals. I did not bother to find out the story: do these wines have one winemaker? Is it one winemaker making small lots of different wine or what? Why? Because when I tasted the Syrah next to the two merlots next to the cabernet they all tasted similar: huge fruit of no particularly distinctive character, low acidity, huge tannins and no terroir at all. At the next table, I tried Dare Cabernet Franc made by Viadier. This was, too, a hedonistic fruit bomb. Huge fruit. But it screamed out "I'm Cabernet Franc" with its cedar and tobacco overtones. It had fruit but also tannins and earth and spice elements all integrated. The oak was there but to integrate and pull together flavors, not to hit you over the head. Would I sit down and drink a bottle of Dare? I doubt it. It just isn't to my taste. But if someone said they like big wines that are ripe and juicy and they were having a steak, I would say to them this is one choice.

So drink what you like. But wine offers a chance to go on a lifelong journey of discovery. I have been obsessed with Brunello for a while now and every year at the Brunello Consorzio I taste a wine that really excites me and renews my love of wine. Every day I taste wines, even if all I taste are wines not to my liking, I still marvel at all that can be done with grapes, time and the judicious use of wood.

Drink what you like, but keep on looking, because you don't know what you like if you haven't tried it. Tell someone what you do like and get 3 or 4 recommendations at a similar price and see how you like this wines. If you like them all then go back to that same living person and get more recommendations. If you don't like some, then tell them and see how tier recommendations change with further info. If the match between your taste and their recommendations grows over time, then keep on with them. You might discover a whole world of wines you never knew exist!

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Well, well put Dean. Have a relationship with your wine, whether it's via comparison with other wines, some extra nugget of technical knowledge, an appeal to a past experience (I have a friend who knows more about Gigondas than I ever thought someone could know, because he started to vacation there; eventually, his inner geek took over), or whatever. Use those relationships to drive further investigations. Flip over another rock. Walk through the looking glass. It's a fun trip.

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(I have a friend who knows more about Gigondas than I ever thought someone could know, because he started to vacation there; eventually, his inner geek took over
Tasting Gigondas along with Lirac, and Vacqueyras would be an interesting way to introduce a budding wine drinker to the differences in styles and Terrior, as you have three wines that are essentially made with the same grapes (Lirac can contain Carignan which is not found in the others), from the same basic region (Southern Rhone), and decent examples are around the same price point. They all are all distinct enough to tell the difference when tasted side-by-side.
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Tasting Gigondas along with Lirac, and Vacqueyras would be an interesting way to introduce a budding wine drinker to the differences in styles and Terrior, as you have three wines that are essentially made with the same grapes (Lirac can contain Carignan which is not found in the others), from the same basic region (Southern Rhone), and decent examples are around the same price point. They all are all distinct enough to tell the difference when tasted side-by-side.

"He's also gone on record saying that all Lirac rouge is crap." :o

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The article made me think about what I learned when I was studying psychology at a (non-Freudian) school. Freud was, of course a briliant theorist, who observed certain phenomena in the people he observed and studied and analyzed. And he hypothesized a theory that concluded that these phenomena were universal, inherent and immutable. However, much of what he was observing turned out to be cultural and reflective of the time and society in which he lived. Some, not many, people continue to believe very fervently in an orthodox Freudian view of human development, but most now recognize the limits of his theory and understand it as a product of the time in which it emerged. There was a time, however, when anyone who dared to question Freud, or come up with alternative explanations were branded as heretics, viciously criticised and ostracized by the analytic hierarchy. It took a long time for the old guard to lessen their grip. And as we developed greater understanding of human biology, the analysts had, for example, to stop explaining schizophrenia as being caused by schizophregenic mothers. A hundred years ago, it made sense to blame many things on nurture when we didn't understand basic things about nature. Scientific progress has enabled and required us to discard many erroneous notions about causality of various phenomena. To hang onto a romantic, hundreds-years old notion about "terroir" despite rather convincing scientific evidence to the contrary, is akin to other forms of reactionary orthodoxy.

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Terroir is more than rocks. It is also site, exposure, microclimate, ambient flora, etc. [some people include people in their notion of terroir, but that is a bone of contention about which I choose to remain agnostic. ] But the key point is that site, soil, exposure, microclimate, ambient flora all contribute to the regulation of when, how, and how much the vine plant takes in water and nutrients. This variegation leads to the development of different phenols based on the level of simple and complex sugars in the berry/plant at the time, which leads to complexity and site differences.

The best terroirs perform this process with some degree of consistency, allowing, over time, a canonical sense of the "expression" of the site to develop. It just so happens (mystically) that, for some sites, that expression includes aromas, textures, and flavors that experienced tasters tend to associate with minerals or other earthy elements. The fact that these aromas, textures, and flavors are of earth is not of consequence with respect to terroir. That is, terroir does not mean earthy flavors. It just so happens that the canonical sense of many terroirs ("terroir signature") includes non-fruit flavors, which makes those signatures easier to discern.

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Terroir is more than rocks. It is also site, exposure, microclimate, ambient flora, etc.

That isn't inconsistent with what McGee was saying. Essentially, he is talking about the perception of "minerality" and where that comes from--turns out it is not a direct expression of, say, limestone in the soil, but is probably a product of the interaction of the grapes and the particular strain of yeast used in fermentation. That the yeasts may be local, or traditionally chosen by the winemaker has an impact on the local and specific taste of the wine. So, in that sense of terroir, the traditional view is correct. The way I read it, he's just saying that the idea of terroir has a more to do with nurture and somewhat less to nature than has been embraced as almost a religious sort of precept.

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Somewhat related to what is being discussed, I rather enjoyed this Tanzer piece on Tony Soter:

Tony Soter on Cabernet.

Apr 07

By Stephen Tanzer

I thought you might be interested in Tony Soter’s comments on cabernet in California. If you are stimulated to express your own opinion, feel free to post your comments in the IWC forum.

By Tony Soter, Soter Vineyards and Etude Wines

Napa is blessed with an abundance and diversity of well-drained volcanic and alluvial soils and (until recently) an ideal climate that is warm enough to consistently ripen Cabernet but cool enough to stretch into October so that ripening is more often than not complete (not just sweet) and redolent with complex layers of nuance. But lately things are getting weird.

When I say weird, I mean the convergence of global warming, numb palates seduced by alcoholic slipperiness, and too many new, insecure winery owners wanting to outgun the next guy by offering bigger-is-better wines. Add to the mix more than a few "mercenary" winemakers/consultants who can dial-in the excess to produce so-called "winning wines." Then, they are followed like lemmings by lesser talents who can at least imitate. Did you know that many of the wines receiving the high scores of late are not just over 14%, they are way past 15% right on up to the top-scorers: 16%? This reduces winemaking to picking raisins and getting one's fermentation technology honed to eke out a semblance of dryness at these extraordinary alcohols. But who cares if they are not totally dry anyway; it always worked for Chardonnay.

There are also some unintended consequences viticulturally (replanting Napa to vertical trellising without regard to row orientation, for example) that combine to make it more difficult to protect the fruit from its most likely flaw. . .sunburn and shrivel. But this seems to be only a challenge for those of us that detest the new-wave excesses. Sunburn and shrivel are just what too many winemakers are waiting for today.though they will tell you it is physiological ripeness.they likely couldn't recognize it if they had to and wouldn't like it if they did.

Essential to graceful, ageworthy cabernet that will smell more interesting with time is a whole range of aromatics or aromatic precursors that are "baked out" of grapes grown in too warm a climate or allowed to get over the top in so-called 'ripeness.' Forget the alcohol imbalance for a moment [those who like tinkering can get a machine involved to fix it]. What if that impressively ripe young wine has no future?.as the fruit fades nothing takes its place.its best moment is shortly after its release.is it coincidental that this is when they are judged?

Credit Jim Laube's retrospectives looking back a decade or more for evidence that the wines have more than early flash. But I predict that many of the recent phenoms won't age worth a damn. To say nothing of the fact that they are hardly drinkable even now. But that may be a personal preference. After all, some of these wines are fairly interesting oenological curiosities. Freak show characters make for good entertainment, but take one home for dinner and you'll regret it, big-time. Not only do they not compliment a meal of nearly any sort, you get dizzy before you've had your third small glass and a headache the next morning if you do manage to finish the bottle.this is fun?

What style do I aim for and has that changed over the years?

I like power and ripeness, but more important are layers of complexity and finesse of structure (balance) and ultimately an irreducible quality of density, sap, or substance. This is a core of grape essence that is true richness. It can be masked by coarse, heavy-handed extraction that leaves the wine with too much tannin to be balanced. This was common decades ago but today we have learned to manage tannins. (I now fear that the marketplace is so tannin-phobic that they equate any tannin as a flaw) This substance or sap can also be imitated by very high alcohol and very low acidity. Most people call these wines round, full bodied, fleshy etc. but to me they are akin to excess makeup and augmentation: you can tell it isn't the real thing.

How do I measure maturity and when to pick? I walk in the vineyard often, taste the fruit, consult the weather, be intimate with the vine, commune with nature, even consider praying. Being the "decider" is lonely work. It is the first in a series of irreversible directives. the consequences one has to live with. Fruit for winemaking improves with long hangtime, but there comes a point when it is not improving any longer, or when it incurs damage and begins to deteriorate because the vine can no longer sustain itself, let alone the fruit. Push it to the edge, but capture it before it goes over. Ripeness alone will make for hollow, slippery wines .those shallow wines that don't have any lingering impression and fail to leave a character stamp. Therefore, great sites and rigorous farming are essential elements of success, in my view.

Low crops, low vigor, and stingy irrigation regimes (if the vines are not dry-farmed) are keys. Organic farming, sustainable farming, and biodynamics are all good approaches and in some form essential. They are all part of the solution vs. conventional farming and we should not spend too much effort discriminating between them in some false search for who is "holier than thou." Interestingly, I do not believe these techniques are strictly speaking quality contributions to the wine. Sustainable farming is a quality enhancement for the environment and a guarantee of purity for the customer that should be a responsibility of every winegrower.

Do we use clones or mass selection?

We use clones in a way that gives us a mass-selection-like result. That is to say we select numerous sites and clones and blend for the desired diversity. In the case of Etude Cabernet, the wine comes from some 8 vineyards representing a range from Calistoga to Napa and this includes 9 different clones of Cabernet. Soter Vineyards has a new wine in barrel made from a co-fermented blend of Cabernet Franc and several heritage or 'heirloom' Cabernet Sauvignon clones that were painstakingly selected and propagated in a new vineyard. This project originated 6-7 years ago and we are looking forward to bringing it to market in a couple years. This is a Napa Valley project that will be seen under a new label made and sold by Soter Vineyards

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Somewhat related to what is being discussed, I rather enjoyed this Tanzer piece on Tony Soter:

there are only a few people who can argue california, and rather than it be an abroad winemaker, consultant, etc, and influence, the grasp of someone beaconed as the real deal of the Northwest, has a place to speak on the "west" as a whole. it is a changing pace for the new age winedrinker to want to follow scores,a nd drink what is "hip". high alcohol wines will have there time, but hte world market will soon learn that these are not the saving grace of the trade, and the pace that the ancestoral phenoms struggled to produce vintage after vintage.

overextraction, eluded with concentration and microoxegenation, cover the real essences of the grape and its"terror", it masks the sense of true flavor and character, it masks the culture of the grape, and simply shows the ego of the winemaker. to cost more than the next guy is the trending of cult wines of california, to cost more than First growths, and grand crus is the coming of age in the US. why? what is there to prove. ?

those that are true to the roots, to the soil, to the vine, to the eco-- are the comers of age, the preservers of the times.. biodynamics, organics, all assets that keep our passion surving.. why not recycle the earth, we already recycle our material goods, keep it coming with what is replaced in the vine, returned to the glass, endugled by the body and mind.

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Because Napa is getting harder and harder for Cabernet Sauvignon. Matter of fact, a whole hell of a lot of places are getting harder and harder for Cabernet Sauvignon. Hey, in another couple of generations, we may live in a world safe from Cab :blink:;) .

Climate and soil-wise, Napa is starting to look more like Minervois than St.-Emilion.

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Listening to The Splendid Table right now. Flavor of wine has nothing to do with the minerals in the soil, he's saying. You don't taste the granite. There's nothing natural about wine, when you think about it, its complexity and virtues lie elsewhere. I'm just reporting. Thoughts?

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Listening to The Splendid Table right now. Flavor of wine has nothing to do with the minerals in the soil, he's saying. You don't taste the granite. There's nothing natural about wine, when you think about it, its complexity and virtues lie elsewhere. I'm just reporting. Thoughts?
This is true...for yellow tail.
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I've argued this issue for years, largely against knuckle-dragging baboons who supposedly have enough tasting experience to know better. Then again, I've spent nearly every night of my life sleeping on a mattress - and I freely admit I don't know the first thing about mattresses...

Rather than fight anew, I'll simply refer you to Terry Theise's essay on terroir, and say that my own personal experience - long, long years of studious tasting, searching and sifting for every possible nuance in wine after wine - very much bears out the fruit of Terry's writings: Terroir exists, of course it does, and those who don't see it are inexperienced, palate-deaf, prejudiced, or just haven't looked at it the right way.

Cheers,

Rocks.

A Primer on Terroir by Terry Theise begins on page 84 of this very long .pdf download.

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Not to complicate things, but maybe terroir ranks up there with umami? And pornography? As in, ya know it when ya see (taste) it. ;)
I'd say that terroir is more like The Matrix. It's there, whether or not you know about it, or can knowingly experience it for yourself.
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I've argued this issue for years, largely against knuckle-dragging baboons who supposedly have enough tasting experience to know better. Then again, I've spent nearly every night of my life sleeping on a mattress - and I freely admit I don't know the first thing about mattresses...

Rather than fight anew, I'll simply refer you to Terry Theise's essay on terroir, and say that my own personal experience - long, long years of studious tasting, searching and sifting for every possible nuance in wine after wine - very much bears out the fruit of Terry's writings: Terroir exists, of course it does, and those who don't see it are inexperienced, palate-deaf, prejudiced, or just haven't looked at it the right way.

Cheers,

Rocks.

A Primer on Terroir by Terry Theise begins on page 84 of this very long .pdf download.

I wholeheartedly agree. ;)

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Terroir exists, of course it does, and those who don't see it are inexperienced, palate-deaf, prejudiced, or just haven't looked at it the right way
The longer I live the more I am sure that most people in the world don't taste things the way I do. I therefore cannot condemn or look down on anyone who does not taste minerality, or menthol, or granite, or anything but the most obvious fruit flavor in any given wine.
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