Added: 16 Jan 2013
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It represents a combination of the climate, topography, land, and the whole landscape results the unique characteristics of the vine. The same varieties have different flavour when grown in different conditions. The resulting wine made of them is thus specific by its flavour and aroma, It bouquet reflects the character of the place where the vine was grown.
The word terroir comes from French, and translated it means the “land”. However, terroir in viticulture means a limited place where vine is grown, combining the natural physical and chemical conditions, the geographic location, the climate, the weather, the soil, the mineral composition of the soil, producing easily identifiable wine. The terroir in a continental region is different from that in the ocean region, and from that in higher locations, on the slope or on plains.
The soil is one of the elements which has the biggest effect on the character of the grape. It contains mineral substances, micro flora, micro organisms. If we want to have a good wine, we need a good nutrient soil. The micro flora has effect on the metabolism between the soil and the roots, the growth cycles, the macro fauna, i.e. the insects, crustacean, and worms aerate the soil, the micro organisms like bacteria, yeasts or fungi together with the minerals mean a good nutrition for the soil. However, the soil should not be too nutrient, as the leaves would grow larger than the fruit. The best soil for growing quality grape is less nutritious shallow soil.
The limestone soil is good for the Chardonnay variety. The gravel drainages the soil, which is an advantage in colder and more humid climates. The shale is excellent for keeping the heat, the wines have mineral character. The sand/clay soil represents a balanced shares of sand, clay, and silt. The granite soil is acidic and crystallic, suitable for the Shitaz varieties. The till is colder, keeps large volume of water, and therefore it is favourable in warm and dry regions.
Mountainous regions are mostly near a river and forest in higher altitudes, and attention should be paid to the slope of the vineyard. Higher locations can well resist spring frosts. The Mediterranean region provides humidity and warm weather, but the grapes may suffer from excessive volume of sugar, producing the wine that is not balanced in the same way as the wine in higher continental locations. The terroir is affected also by the position and orientation of the slope. In the northern hemisphere, the slopes oriented to the south catch more sunshine, but in the southern hemisphere it is other way round, as more sunshine is caught by the slopes oriented to the north.
It is important to protect the terroir and to prevent standardization and homogenization. In that case, the individual regions lose their unique character, the wines are insipid and all of them taste the same. It is also important to inspect the mechanization in the vineyard. The most suitable of them are horses, mules or small tricycles. Heavy mechanisms press the soil, which impairs the growth of roots.
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