Locus, loci… Terroir
Ever since Roman times, an attempt has been made to frame and define at a terminological level all those areas in which there was a strong aptitude for the cultivation of vineyards.
The Romans simply called it LOCUS.
Literally translated this term simply means place, but in fact this Latin term was used indicate an area that gave a particular character to the wines produced there.
In modern times, however, we have begun to use a French term, perhaps a little highfalutin, but which represents this concept well: Terroir.
Often translated as – Territory – in reality this term encapsulates and describes a much broader concept.
Terroir is the combination of multiple factors including soil, climate and sunlight that give grapes their distinctive character. This is the definition you can find in the dictionary or in a book about viticulture.
But what if we actually want to go deeper?
Terroir can actually mean much more.
When we talk about ‘Terroir Wine’ we are talking about wines that are the best and purest expression of the terroir of a certain area.
This is what we consider a great wine: the pure expression of the terroir and the wine region where the wine is produced.
This is our goal in terms of wine production.
We want to achieve the best quality, through careful selection, respecting nature. In order to obtain the perfect expression of our land through our products.
When Terroir becomes a philosophy of life.
Terroir from an abstract concept becomes a pure expression of a philosophy of approach to viticulture when the winemaker tries in every way to make his own area, his own region and his own self speak through his product.
The result will be all about wines that are more capable of surprising us, making us fall in love, making us dream as well as taking us far away.
Perhaps to unknown lands with a single sip.
As we have seen, the human factor is crucial. Every intervention from the point of view of vineyard management and from the point of view of the approach in the winery takes on a key role. Man cooperates side by side with nature, shaping it, to try to create quality that speaks about love and passion.
Quality and Terroir wine
At this point a question arises spontaneously “terroir wines” can therefore be synonymous with quality – the answer is absolutely yes – to the extent that “terroir wines” are all those wines that express themselves in a complete, complex and involving way. Thus leading us to perceive the quality and value of the product.
Another aspect that should be considered of fundamental importance is undoubtedly the impact that the implementation of biodiversity can have on the terroir.
Implementing biodiversity automatically means having an ecosystem in your vineyard that is capable of self-regeneration, of continuous and constant resilience that will lead to an extreme improvement in the quality of your product.
So we can absolutely say that increasing biodiversity and greater expressive ease on the part of the terroir must go hand in hand.
This is why the organic approach to viticulture is probably the key to obtaining a unique product.
Better health of the soil, of one’s own vineyard and therefore of one’s own grapes will give us enormous advantages from the point of view of ease of processing and therefore also of one’s own stylistic expression.
In conclusion we can therefore say that when we talk about terroir we have various fundamental elements to consider.
Climate factor in primis, macroclimate, mesoclimate and microclimate. In particular the latter- Each estate, each vineyard has its own soul, its own microclimate.
Also certainly important is the geological composition of a given area, and obviously also of a given vineyard.
And referring to the vineyard specifically, the topography of the vineyard has a such a big impact and influence over the grapes productions.
Last but not least, the Human Factor, as mentioned above, is fundamental. The style, the imprint and the personal taste of the person producing a given wine has a significant weight.
If we wanted to summarise the definition of terroir wines in a single sentence it would probably be the following – Wines that tell a story, a tradition, a love story. Wines that also, and above all, tell the story of those who produced them.