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Simon Huntington

What Do Wine Tasting Terms Mean?

Lost in translation? Common wine tasting terms explained: Ever read a wine tasting note and thought, “what on earth does that mean?” The descriptive terms used in tasting notes can sometimes seem downright odd. After all, there are no twigs in an oaky white, or pebbles in a mineral red. Often, this is because language is just really bad at describing the sensations we feel. This is especially true of senses as primal as taste and smell, which evolved long before we developed language. Wine tasters, therefore, are forced to convey their impressions via metaphors. As a parallel, think about how hard it would be to describe pain without metaphor. A stabbing pain doesn’t literally have to mean you’re being shanked, and you don’t have to be sitting too close to a radiator to have a burning pain (although you should probably get that checked out). With wine, there’s the added problem that, if tasting notes are written immediately after a particularly lengthy and enjoyable tasting, the creative juices can be a little over-stimulated. But we’ve read many wine tasting notes that seem like they could only have been written by a random wine review generator: “The 2011 Syrah from Champs de Merde incorporates flippant shrimp midtones with a complex millet essence….” Wait… what? We can’t promise to explain what a flippant shrimp tastes like, but we can explain what many of the most common tasting terms mean. Wine Tasting Terms - The List: A.B.V. Abbreviation of ‘alcohol by volume’. It is normally listed on a wine label in percentage format to let you know how much alcohol is in the bottle you’re about to drink. ACIDITY Acid is present in all grapes and is an absolutely essential part of any wine. It can be detected by the sharp, crisp character it gives wines. It is responsible for making a wine taste fresh and is an important balance to any sweetness. AUTOLYTIC Wine described as having an 'autolytic' character have a yeasty or bread-like smell or taste. Often this comes from ageing the wine on its lees. BALANCED When a wine has all its essential components (acid, tannin, sugar and alcohol) in harmony, so that one component does not overwhelm any of the others. BARREL Barrels in winemaking are usually made from oak - either French or American - and are often used to age wine or sometimes as a container for fermentation. American oak tends to impart a stronger, sweeter flavour than French oak. Either can be toasted before use to bring a different dimension, but the most common distinction made between barrel types is between old and new. New barrels can overwhelm the natural flavour of the wine if they're overused, so older ones, or a mixture, are often preferred. BARRIQUE A special type of barrel. Barriques have a capacity of 225 litres and are relatively tall. Although they are all a set size, the term barrique does not indicate whether it is old or new oak, or the level of toasting inside. BIODYNAMIC WINE Biodynamics is a farming practice that advocates harmony between the earth, the vine and the cosmos. Its theories hail from anthropologist Rudolph Steiner who proposed that everything is connected and cyclical when it comes to agriculture. Proponents of this system say that their wines are more stable and are truer expressions of their vineyard. Some of our growers use biodynamic practices, but whether this is what makes their grapes so good, or whether they are just good growers anyway, is open to debate. BLEND Individual wines can be blended together to make something with better balance. Blending might be between wines made from different grape varieties, grown in different vineyards, harvested in different years, or treated differently during the winemaking process. BLIND TASTING A tasting where the identity of the wines being tasted is withheld from the people doing the tasting. It’s a pretty good way to sort out wines that legitimately taste amazing, from those relying on their label and/or reputation to influence the tasters. BODY Term to describe the weight of a wine in the mouth. Full-bodied wine is heavier, with more power, more alcohol, tannin and flavour. Lighter-bodied wine is more delicate. CLOSED / TIGHT A wine that’s not very forthcoming with its characteristics and maybe needs to breathe, or age for a bit longer. It doesn’t necessarily mean a bad wine – like a person who’s not very open and friendly at first, but then turns out to be really nice once you get to know them, sometimes you just have to give a wine the benefit of the doubt. COMPLEX Not a wine with emotional problems, but a wine with lots of different flavour characteristics, all working together. Generally considered a good thing. CORKED Cork taint is a specific wine fault caused by a fungus which can lay hidden deep within cork bark. Its effects can range from the barely detectable to the severe. At the less serious end of the scale, it’s often difficult to say for certain that something is amiss without opening a second bottle for comparison. The fruit flavour of the wine may appear dull and muted, and the wine may finish short. In more severe cases, the wine will smell distinctly musty and, in extreme instances, of rotting cardboard or like a mouldy dog. A wine with a few bits of cork floating around in it is not corked, although you might want to have a word with the person who poured you your glass. CRISP A wine (typically white) with higher acidity and leaner fruit, which comes across to the drinker as fresher, more zingy and more enjoyable to drink on a hot day. If it tastes of cheese and onion, you’re not drinking wine. CRUNCHY Some wines have a taste of red fruit, combined with juicy acidity, which is best described as “crunchy”. Think of a crisp red apple, or a firm red plum. CUVÉE A French term for a particular batch, blend or type of wine. DRY A wine is dry if it contains little or no residual sugar. A common mistake is to believe that a wine is not dry if it tastes of sweet things, such as fruit. The flavour of the wine is unrelated to whether a wine is dry or not. EARTHY A wine with more savoury flavours and aromas of forest floor or mushrooms might be said to be earthy. It usually also indicates a style of wine with less impression of fruit sweetness. FLABBY A wine that lacks acidity. Think how less refreshing fizzy drinks become when they go flat; the carbon dioxide bubbles give these drinks more acidity and, once it’s gone, they’re not as nice to drink. FINISH When you swallow a wine (or spit it out… like that’s a thing) the flavours and sensations of the wine will stay with you for a period of time. Poor quality wines tend to disappear from the mouth quickly, whereas high quality wines are said to have a long finish i.e. the flavours last a long time. If you like the taste, that’s a good thing! FRUIT FORWARD A wine which emphasises ripe, jammy fruit character as its principal characteristic, as opposed to an older wine, which might be more earthy and gamey, or an oaky wine dominated by aromas of toast or vanilla. HORIZONTAL TASTING A tasting of wines from the same year, but from multiple producers. Usually organised around a theme such as grape, region or style. LEES The particles that settle at the bottom of a tank or barrel after fermentation or ageing, made up of dead yeast cells and grape fragments. Leaving a wine to age on these lees can impart additional complexity to the finished product, adding silky texture and bready aromas. MINERAL / MINERALITY Vines growing on particular types of soil – for example Santorini’s volcanic soils, or Chablis’ Kimmeridgian chalk – are said to impart a mineral characteristic to their wines. While it’s hard to define what constitutes a mineral flavour, research conducted by Dr Wendy Parr of Lincoln University, New Zealand found that most tasters agree that mineral wines tend to taste of citrus, with fresh zingy notes, a smoky character, and chalky texture. OAKY A wine smelling or tasting of characteristics derived from ageing in oak barrels. These can range from sweet vanilla (indicating use of American oak) or more subtle buttered-toast notes (from French oak). OLD VINE As vines get older, they become less vigorous and produce fewer grapes, but the grapes they do produce become more intensely flavoured and complex. There’s no legal definition, but as a rule of thumb, vines would need to be aged around 50 years to be considered old. If a vine produces less fruit, this means less wine can be made, so as well as being better, a wine made from old vines is also likely to be a little more expensive. OXIDISED This is what happens when a wine has been exposed to oxygen for too long. This can happen during the winemaking process, or if it has been stored incorrectly and the closure has failed. It’s why your wine starts to taste like vinegar after a few days of being left open. POLISHED No Mr Muscle involved. Just means a well-made wine with smooth tannins / texture. SOMMELIER A specialist waiter in a restaurant, who oversees the wine list and advises customers on wine choices. Not everyone who loves wine, or whose profession involves wine, is a sommelier. STRUCTURE Acidity and tannin are two major components of a wine that give it structure, texture and the ability to age and improve. Think of a glass of wine being a bit like a body – the fruit is the muscle and the acidity and tannin are the skeleton – neither would work without the other. A well-structured wine is one where these different components are in harmony with each other, and this might also give the impression that the wine could age well. SWEET Some wines are actually sweet – in other words, they contain a significant amount of sugar. Others may be incorrectly described as sweet, even when they’re actually bone dry, because their ripe fruit character gives an impression of sweetness. TANNIN A bitter compound that naturally occurs in the skins, seeds and stems of a grape. They give wines dryness and structure, and can add complexity. Tannins are also an antioxidant, working to protect the wine as it ages. Tannins can be detected in many wines - they feel grainy and drying on your gums. TERROIR A French term, which doesn't have a single direct equivalent in English. It refers to the combination of factors that influence the quality and character of wine in a particular area or vineyard, including soil, climate and grape variety. If a vineyard or region is said to have good terroir, it means that it is all of those factors are favourable for the production of good wine. A wine tasting of its terroir indicates that it is typical of its region and/or vineyard. VERTICAL TASTING A tasting of the same wine, but from different vintages, alongside one another. VINTAGE The year a particular wine’s grapes were picked. If a wine is 'non-vintage' it means it is made up of a blend of wines from different years, and not that it is of lesser quality. Most Champagne, for example, is non-vintage. WET STONE Who’s ever actually tasted a wet stone? Not us! This is one of those difficult-to-define, evocative terms, indicating something like the smell of a pebble beach in the rain, with hints of salinity and earth. WINEMAKER A person who lives in a winery and occasionally makes wine. Anything you think we missed? Get in touch with your best / worst / funniest wine tasting notes and we’ll do our best to decipher them and get them added to our list.

31/08/2017

Sarah

Sarah Jones

Visiting Château Minuty

Memories of Provence: We peeled ourselves away from the turquoise shores of Pampelonne beach, excited for our imminent meeting. Dodging the Mini Moke drivers and immaculately dressed Tropézienne, we jumped in the car; our destination - Château Minuty. We found Minuty nestled below the hill tops of Gassin. We took a left turn up a long gravel drive, invited in by huge signs, which led us into the beautiful 19th century estate, ready to taste the finest of Provence rosés. Warmly welcomed by the team at Minuty, we embarked on a tour of the vineyards, where we were encouraged to taste the Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault berries, which were juicy and ample, with just weeks to go until harvest. We learnt that on the first Sunday of the harvest, all the pickers are blessed in the beautiful 19th Century chapel which overlooks one of the main vine plots. The Minuty story began in 1936, when the estate comprised only 17 hectares of vines; today the estate owns an impressive 110. Fortunately, the vineyards escaped the forest fires that swept across the region in recent weeks. We wove our way through the fruit-laden vines, to the beautiful Napoleonic Château that has been home to the Matton-Farnet family for four generations. We could hear the laughter of the grandchildren as they frolicked in the pool with their bright pink inflatable flamingos - a perfect image for Minuty’s Instagram feed. Next it was time to head to the tasting area, through the oldest part of the cellar. Passing concrete vats, stainless steel tanks and barrels, we emerged into the newly refurbished, state of the art tasting room, where we sat down for the best part of the tour. Château Minuty Rose et Or was my personal favourite from the tasting - pale with crystal reflections like the nearby sea. On the palate, intense freshness and finesse, with notes of pink grapefruit and white peach. One sip didn’t seem enough! So what is it that makes Minuty so special? Why is it regarded as one of the finest Provence rosés, drunk in over 75 countries and served in some of the best restaurants across the world? Having now visited the heart of it, where it all began, I think it must be the overriding feeling of family and tradition at Minuty, all wrapped in an attitude of modernité and a constant drive for innovation.

23/08/2017

Shana

Shana Dilworth

Top Wines at the Good Food Guide's Top 20

Launched in 1951, the Good Food Guide has become a noted authority on the finest places to eat in the UK. A listing in the Guide’s annual top 50 is a sure sign of a restaurant being a fabulous place to eat. Restaurants in the Guide aren’t rated just for the quality of their cooking, but for the overall dining experience, meaning that food, wine, atmosphere and staff are all taken into account. While the Guide’s taste tends towards more classic, high-end restaurants, as opposed to trendy local spots, the more memorable the dining experience, the higher the restaurant is ranked. All of which shows that the more formal dining experience continues to re-invent itself and stay relevant. The restaurants and chefs highlighted in this year’s Good Food Guide continue to be some of the most influential advisors for how and what we eat, with many committed to fair trade, locally-sourced ingredients and sustainable fish sources. So we’re incredibly proud of the fact that we work to supply wine to two thirds of the restaurants listed in this year’s top 50, including 11 out of the top 20. We certainly wouldn’t want to take all the credit for their achievements, but we’re delighted that we could play our small part. How many Roberson-supplied restaurants have you eaten at? Good Food Guide 2017 Top 20: Restaurant Nathan Outlaw L'Enclume Pollen Street Social* Restaurant Sat Bains* The Fat Duck Restaurant Gordon Ramsay* Hedone* Restaurant Andrew Fairlie Claude Bosi at Bibendum* Casamia Bohemia Ynyshir* Dinner by Heston Blumenthal* Fraiche Marcus* Le Champignon Sauvage Adam Reid at The French The Ledbury* André Garrett at Cliveden* Midsummer House* *Restaurant clients of Roberson Wine

17/08/2017

Favicon avt

Roberson Wine

The Domaine by Lidewij Van Wilgen, pt.3

At the height of her career, Lidewij Van Wilgen gave up her job at Saatchi in Amsterdam to start a new life in the French countryside and become a wine maker, producing the beautiful Mas des Dames. She wrote a book about her experience, Het Domein (The Domaine), which became a best seller in The Netherlands. Read excerpt one: First Impressions and excerpt two: Where I'm From now. Chapters 6 and 7: First Weeks at Mas des Dames The winery is like an island. We’re all alone in this sea of green fields. Every once in a while, out in the distance I see a farmer on an old tractor looking in our direction. I follow his gaze, see our brand new machinery glinting in the sun in front of the cellar, and wonder what he makes of it all. In the shade of the almond tree in front of the wine cellar, Siebe, our vintner, is talking to Bruno, our main worker. I stare at the white jerry cans on the ground with their death heads and choking fish symbols. I kneel down to read one of the labels: très nocif pour le milieu aquatique - highly toxic to aquatic organisms. I think of the small stream down below and the little fish swimming in it. ‘Is it really necessary to do so much spraying?’ I ask. Bruno frowns at me. Suddenly, I see myself as if from a distance, the city girl in her trendy skirt. What would I know about weed killers and pesticides? Four days later, Adrien and I drive two anxious little girls to school. As we park our sleek blue Land Rover between two old Peugeots, I feel ill at ease – it’s shocking to see just how out of tune we are with our surroundings. At the school gate several small groups of women are chatting idly. Adrien's jovial 'Bonjour!' is acknowledged, albeit grudgingly, but is followed quickly by a resounding silence. These people all know each other; we are complete outsiders. Intruders almost. When we walk outside Adrien puts his arm around me. His attempts at reassuring me are quickly smothered by a scene in my mind’s eye that is so overpowering it leaves me gasping: Marijn, sitting on the floor in a beam of sunlight at her Montessori school back in Haarlem. I feel the tears welling up as I picture the jigsaw puzzles spread around her, the children's artwork hanging on the walls, all her little friends. What on earth are we doing here? --- 'Hey, that’s a perfect job for me!’ I say a few days later when Siebe is about to send Mia back into the vineyards to test the grapes for ripeness. Siebe fires me an admonishing look. ‘No, no,’ he says, gesturing at me to sit down. ‘Look, for this kind of work you have to be systematic. You can't just pick one hundred individual grapes at random; you have to have a system. ‘Fine,’ I say, ‘then I'll choose a couple of different rows in each section, and I'll make sure to pick at different heights.’ I stand up to go but Siebe doesn’t move, so I sit down again. He sighs and says: ‘No, Lidewij, I can't let you do this, no way. We’ve been using Mia's system right from the start. The results wouldn't be consistent if I suddenly let someone else pick the samples. It’s just not possible, sorry.’ ‘Are we going to harvest the grapes soon?’ I ask Siebe when he stops by that afternoon. ‘Harvest? Us?’ He regards me with something approaching pity, the silly child who's asked yet another stupid question. ‘Lidewij,’ he says wearily, ‘you have to understand that our quality criteria are a lot different from those of a cooperative. They have to gather the grapes on time from a host of different coopérateurs. So they have to start early. But we can wait until that precise moment of optimal ripeness.’ He takes a grape from one of the bags on the kitchen counter. ‘Here, take a look at the seed.’ He pops a grape into his mouth and then shows me the seed on the end of his index finger. ‘See the tip of the seed? It's still green. A grape isn't ripe until the seed has gone completely brown.’ I put a grape into my own mouth and take out the seed. He’s right; the top of it is still green - not yet ripe. ‘You can taste the seed as well,’ he goes on. ‘A ripe one has a roasted-almond flavour, not that sour, greenish taste.’ He takes another grape and bites it in half. ‘Look at this one. Do you see that? The seed is still stuck to the flesh. In a grape that is ripe the seed comes away real easy.’ I have just learned three extremely useful empirical criteria, with the result that I end up eating a lot more grapes over the next few days than is strictly necessary. I get a kick out of being able to follow the grapes' maturation process myself now using this simple, timeworn method. It comes as no surprise to me a week later when Siebe announces that the grenache blanc grapes are ready for harvesting. I had already come to the exact same conclusion myself. As Mas des Dames' UK importer, we're publishing a series of excerpts from Lidewij's book. Read excerpt one: First Impressions and excerpt two: Where I'm From now - and check back soon for the next part.

14/08/2017

Emma

Emma Partington

Three Things to Love About Urban Wineries

The Urban Winery Revolution With the capital’s third urban winery set to open later this year, London is on the verge of an exciting artisanal winemaking revolution. Londoners are embracing a winemaking phenomenon that started stateside over ten years ago and has now spread across the world, from Sweden to Japan. The notion is simple: wine is made in a city setting using fruit sourced from indigenous – or international – vineyards. Innovations in technology and logistics have meant that grapes can be transported relatively quickly from rural vineyards to a production site many miles away, and remain in excellent condition. The idea took off in the USA in the early millennium with Seattle-based winemakers creating wine from Washington State grapes. Americans fell in love with the concept and city wineries began to spring up all over, with a huge scene developing in San Francisco, as well as Portland, Oregon. Now, many of the world’s major urban hubs boast a city-dwelling winery including Paris, New York, Stockholm, Sydney and Hong Kong. With the term’s recent inclusion in wine lover’s bible ‘The Oxford Companion to Wine’ and our very own London Cru turning four this September, we thought it was high time to celebrate three of the things we love about urban wineries. 1. Access Traditionally, wine aficionados had to travel to remote areas to learn about winemaking or see a producer’s winery. With more and more wineries based in cities, it’s easier than ever to see how wine is actually produced, and to keep up to date with the winemaking process and latest releases. You can enjoy the fun of visiting a winery without leaving the personality of your city behind. Many urban wineries offer the space for hire, or host interesting wine events alongside their winemaking activities. With no need to drive miles into the countryside, you can relax, and enjoy a glass (or three) of wine among the tanks and barrels in which it was made. What’s more, there’s often an opportunity to get involved in the process. Whether it’s help pressing grapes or assisting with getting the wines through the bottling line, there’s always a chance to learn and develop your wine knowledge in a hands-on way. This leads to city-based wineries having a real community-feel, with local people mucking in and taking part. 2. Flexibility Vintage variation has always been somewhat of a problem in the wine industry, especially in Europe. A lack of sunshine, lots of rain or even a big hail storm can have a devastating effect on yield. Urban wineries don’t tend to be tied to a particular vineyard, and by their very nature are located a fair distance away. This gives the winery huge flexibility when it comes to choosing grapes for the year ahead. For example, most years London Cru makes a wine from English grapes (usually a variety called Bacchus). However, in 2015 there weren’t many good quality Bacchus grapes around, so they made a fantastic Albariño from Spain’s Rías Baixas region instead. This flexibility means urban wineries never have to make do with the grapes they have – they can constantly seek out the best of every year, to make the best possible wine they can. 3. Innovation The wine industry is still somewhat shackled to a traditional fuddy-duddy reputation of dusty bottles, huge châteaux and thick, complicated wine lists. Urban wineries are leading the charge to banish this image, showing that you don’t need a huge estate to make great wine. Winemaking regions across the world have strict guidelines about what you can and can’t do. These regulations are intended to protect the reputation of the region’s traditional wine style, but sometimes force producers to make inferior wines. For example, regulations in Tuscany long forced winemakers to add poor quality white grapes to their red Chianti wines. Being city-based allows urban wineries to rip up the rulebook, experimenting and innovating to their heart’s content. Want to find out more about our city winery London Cru? Following refurbishment in September 2017, London Cru will re-open with a regular calender of events and tastings.

10/08/2017

Mags

Magnavai Janjo

What is Terroir?

In this three part series - The Grape Story - we’ll be weighing in on subjects which are the topic of some of the fiercest debates in grape growing and winemaking. Read Part 1 - What is a Grape Variety? - now The Grape Story Part 2 - What is Terroir? A dozen growers will give a dozen different definitions for terroir. Theoretically, it’s the idea of grapes coming from a region or vineyard with a specific sense of place, which couldn’t be replicated. There are several factors which constitute terroir, and many literary pieces and educational materials have been devoted to the elaboration of the idea. However, fundamentally, there are 5 key concepts which must be considered when defining terroir. Climate The climate of a site refers to its annual weather patterns over a significant period of time. Weather patterns change year-on-year, but the overall climate remains relatively unchanged. A famous (unconfirmed) Mark Twain quote reads: “climate is what we expect; weather is what we get.” Parameters by which climates are assessed include – average rainfall, length of the growing season (the number of days between bud burst and harvest), and continentality (the difference between the average temperature of the hottest and coldest month). The climate of a given site or region will largely influence the grape varieties which can be successfully ripened, and the styles of wines produced. There are several different climatic categories, of which only three or four are of interest to the modern viticulturist. A Continental climate is characterised by bitterly cold winters and hot summers, with a short to medium growing season. Winter runs well into February and harvests usually begin at the end of September. Rainfall is usually moderate (500-650mm), most of which occurs outside the growing season. Burgundy, Canada’s Niagara Peninsular and Tasmania all fall within this category, which is known for crisp whites and lean reds from varieties such as Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Noir. Maritime climates are characterised by mild winters and warm summers, with a medium to long growing season. Their temperatures are usually moderated by large bodies of moving water, such as the Gironde River in Bordeaux. The high rainfall (900mm+) usually occurs in and around the autumn period, bringing with it an increased risk of fungal disease. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc typically dominate this class – think Bordeaux varietals. Mediterranean climates are characterised by very hot summers, mild winters and low rainfall (below 500mm). Most of California’s Central Valley, Languedoc-Roussillon, Provence and parts of Tuscany fall within this category, which is most suitable to heat loving varieties such as Zinfandel, Grenache, Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne. Weather With the climate of a region or site being known, the weather refers to the actual daily, weekly and monthly conditions. We know to expect cold winters from continental climates and high rainfall from maritime climates, but what actually pans out is what makes up the weather. The weather conditions of a given year determine the actual quality of the fruit grown and wine made. This is why certain vintages are more prized than others, Bordeaux 2009 for example. A hot and relatively dry year in a maritime climate can produce some truly stunning wines, while a cool and wet autumn in a continental climate will produce some overly acidic wines as grapes struggle to reach adequate ripeness levels. Altitude Altitude refers to location with respect to sea-level. For every altitude increase of 100m there is a 0.5-0.6°C reduction in temperature. This is often a key consideration for Mediterranean climates, where cooler sites are prized for their ability to slow down the ripening process, thus aiding in the development of complex flavours, and for their acid retention capabilities. Some of Argentina’s best wines come from regions such as Tupungato, which sits at 3250ft (999m) altitude – which roughly translates to a 5-6°C drop in temperature compared to the valley floors. Aspect Aspect simply refers to the angle of the slope – both the gradient of inclination and the direction of the slope are of interest to the grower. The sun rises from the east and sets in the west, therefore east facing slopes in the Northern Hemisphere are particularly prized, as they capture most of the morning sun. While this is advantageous in a continental climate where sunlight and warmth is met with a toast to Dionysus, it might prove problematic in a Mediterranean climate where cooler growing conditions are preferred, as they slow down the ripening process and help control the tendency for high grape sugar content ergo, highly alcoholic wines. The angle of the slope not only determines how well the site drains, but also the extent to which mechanisation might be possible. While many growers wax lyrical about the significant benefits of hand harvesting, the reality is that this can be up to 10 times more expensive than mechanical harvesting. However, slopes with a gradient in excess of 35-40% generally prove to be problematic for vineyard machinery. Soil Soils vary in texture, composition, moisture content, nutrient levels and water retention capacity. Gravel soils are generally lauded for their free draining and heat retention capabilities. These free-draining soils force the vines to grow deep roots, which is beneficial to their longevity and ability to cope with adverse growing conditions. Gravel soils also dry up quicker after precipitation, thereby minimising the risk of fungal diseases which can arise from damp growing conditions. Chalky subsoil can also be beneficial as chalk can soak up excess rain, acting as an underground water reserve for the vines. The concept of terroir isn’t simply the climate, weather, rainfall, aspect or type of soil which a region or site possesses, but how these individual components advantageously work together to produce better quality grapes and ultimately, better wine. The hill of Corton in Beaune offers a unique terroir, in that it is located in the heart of a continental climate region (Burgundy), with mainly clay and limestone soils, and the south facing aspect of the slope is able to capture most of the morning sun which aids ripening. However, at 200-350m altitude, the ripening processes are slow and meticulous, allowing for the formation of complex flavours and aromas. Combined with favourable weather conditions over a given growing season, this terroir can produce truly exceptional and distinctive wines.

02/08/2017

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