Terroir scepticism again

Three years on and I am still waiting for someone to take on my Terroir Test and show positive results.

I have not been holding my breath for the Terroir Test in particular, but I was rather hoping that someone somewhere would come up with an interesting example of terroir differences being consistently identified blind.  Instead, in the last edition of The World of Fine Wine, there were another couple of failures reported: the failure to be able to identify granite and limestone terroirs in Alsace Riesling, and the failure to be able to identify Burgundy villages.

I shall add those failures to my list, which earlier included the Judgement of Paris, where Bordeaux and Burgundy was confused with American wines, and a tasting reported in Jasper Morris’s Inside Burgundy, where the different levels of Clos Vougeot were not identifiable.  Plus many incidents from personal experience of course.

Those examples do not demonstrate that terroir does not exist, but they do in my opinion show that many who talk and write about it should be far less glib.  I already try to tread carefully in this area myself, but maybe even greater care is in order.

On a more positive note, someone did point out to me that the best blind tasting teams perform rather well, at least in being able to identify the villages and vineyards in classic wine regions.  I’d like to better understand how well they perform, and how they do it.  I suspect that a lot of focussed hard work and practice is involved – a commitment that most wine-lovers, writers and critics would not be prepared to make.

Author: Steve Slatcher

Wine enthusiast

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *