Seattle Wine Blog

This blog is dedicated to commentary on all aspects of wine, especially short entries to help you find the best wines without the usual hype and spin. These are my frank, independent opinions, usually based on tasting wine at a public event, off the shelf or at the winery. "All creative acts must arise out of a specific soil and flicker with a spirit of place" -D.H. Lawrence

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Salacious Dirt in Oregon

Geologists get together to talk dirt in Portland, Oregon. Once again we are informed that minerals don't go directly from the soil to the wine and that you can't taste the minerals in wine, hence no "minerality." Despite many attempts to make wine tasting seem objective, it remains, and always will remain , a subjective experience and despite Ann Noble's best attempts at a "Tasting Wheel" we are reduced to metaphor when describing taste - no color spectrum here. So what is "minerality" or "stoniness" in a wine? It is a poor attempt to describe a quality with no name. Perhaps it is aniconic, an absence, an absence of fruit?

Then there is the question of "Terroir." Last night I had the good fortune to consume some Foie Gras with a 2001 Chateau Angludet from the village of Margaux. Although terroir usually refers to micro-climate, even on the scale of  an entire Appellation or AVA there are differences associated with place. At the simplest level, it appears, for example, that St. Estephe is a little colder and rainier than Margaux, but what gives Margaux it's "elegance." Is it a group delusion? A hallucination? A belief?  Cultural? A winemaker's prototype? Does the soil contribute? In any event, wines from different places usually taste different, although I'm sure there are many winemaker's who could, and have, obliterated these differences.

So different places can produce different wines, but do different places produce different Foie Gras? The little tag attached to the "pot" of Foie Gras claimed "terroir." What is terroir in this case? Place?  don't think so. Feed?  Maybe. Hype? French marketing? Bingo!  

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