Visiting the stunning monastery vineyard in Gualtallary, Mendoza, Argentina


Edgardo and Paz

Edgardo (Edy) del Popolo and Davi Bonomi took Paz Levinson and I out to see their Monasterio vineyard, high in Gualtallary, in the Uco Valley. Here, at 1500 metres on the ridge of a hill there are some amazing soils, with a very high proportion of active limestone. It’s this combination of […]

Some profound(?) thoughts prompted by this Loire trip

Terroir is a creative act between people and a place. Terroir only exists in the context of a wine, and wine is a creative act as a winegrower seeks to interpret their place through choices they make in viticulture and winemaking.

Drinking wine is itself a creative act. We are given a sensory theme, and we […]

Does extended maceration obscure terroir?

Does extended maceration, to the extent that occurs in many amphora or orange wines, obscure or trump site and grape variety? This was a really good question that I was asked by a good friend today. So I thought I’d draft some sort of answer.

First, let me state that I am a fan of many […]

In action: the video from my talk on minerals and terroir in Barcelona

So the video of my talk from the Wine and Culinary Forum (nice review of the forum here from top Canadian wine journo Treve Ring) is finally live and posted to Youtube. Here it is:


Site-specific Chenin Blanc from Mullineux - Quartz and Schist

As you all know, Chenin Blanc is officially one of the two coolest white grape varieties, along with Riesling. Chenin’s attributes are its good acidity, its structure, its ageability, its flexibility and, of course, its terroir transparency. It’s a grape that is good at interpreting soils, and making wines that are different depending on the […]

White Stones and White Bones: terroir-based Chardonnays from Catena

It was very interesting to try these two high-end terroir-based Chardonnays from Catena, and then the next day to have a look at the soils that produced them.

They both come from the same block in the Adrianna Vineyard, high up in the Uco Valley at 1450 m altitude. But even within the same block, there’s […]

The mystery of soils and wine, part 1

To the ancients, the idea that plants are formed from the soil would have seemed self-evident. The communion between the roots and the earth suggests that the composition of plants, and by extension the fruit they produce, is determined largely by the composition of the soil. Modern science, however, paints a rather different picture. The […]

What the Wellington Ukulele Orchestra tells us about terroir

On Friday night I went to a strange but enjoyable concert.

Neudorf Vineyards in Nelson were hosting a gig by the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra.

There were quite a few members of this odd ensemble. I counted 9, of which 8 were armed with ukuleles and one with a double bass. Pretty much all of them all […]

Some thoughts on Central Otago and the sense of place in wine

As I write I am flying from Queenstown to Christchurch after less than a full day spent in Central Otago, one of the most visually striking wine regions on the globe. While the impressions are still fresh in my mind I wanted to try to capture some of them.

It is remarkable country. The quality of […]

Some more thoughts on terroir

Prompted by the discussion that followed my recent post on the taste of terroir, here are a few more thoughts on the subject.

1. Not all sites are created equal
I recently read an article on terroir by Claude and Lydia Bourguignon. They made lots of points, some of them good, some plain patronising and chauvinistic. […]