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Gout de Terroir | The Wine Virgin
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Gout de Terroir

March 11, 2008

Hi Wine Virgin, can you explain what gout de terroir means? Thanks. - Ellen in Douglas, GA

The gout de terroir roughly translates into the taste of the earth. Some believe that it is possible for the soil in which the vine grew was able to impart certain earthy flavors to the wine itself, giving it very unique characteristics. However, there is no hard scientific evidence that the soil can transmit the taste of the soil up through the roots, through the vine and into the grapes.

People seem to have this strange ability to make an association between what they see in a vineyard and what they taste in the wine. Yet even though the dirt that the vine grows in cannot transmit a certain flavor or aroma one may consider that the reason for saying that a particular wine has gout de terroir of a mineral or earthy tone is due to the entire wine making process itself.

Take into account the specific micro-climate that some grapes are grown in along with particular weather variations. You also have to consider how long the grapes were allowed to ripen before they were picked. These simple variables among many others have as much to do with the finished product as anything. Most people seem to stop at the thought that a wine takes on a definite character only during the wine fermentation process.

If you follow this thought process back even further, you will begin to see why the French made the claim that the gout de terroir had its say in the over all aroma and taste of a wine. Ellen, if you sit down and perhaps notice the tint of what you might think of as earthy or even chalky, realize that you are tasting a little bit of everything that went into making that glass in front of you. Cheers!!

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