Drink Local Wine Week!
Another wine holiday is upon and yes, this holiday gives us a full week to celebrate! More importantly “Drink Local Wine Week” is a perfect opportunity to explore that eye-roll inducing term, “Terroir”. There’s no precise translation of this French invention, but terroir can be defined loosely as the combination of soil, exposure to the sun, and macro-, meso-, and microclimate, that make each vineyard and region unique. Add in annual variations in weather patterns and you can start to respect why the French intelligently condensed these variables into a single word.
Like everything in the wine world, opinions differ on terroir. Some believe that it encompasses such a vast array of elements so as to render it vague and meaningless. They see terroir as nothing more than a way for wineries to inject an aura of mysticism and uniqueness in their marketing materials. Others see terroir as the reason Napa Cabernet tastes like a Napa Cabernet and not a Cabernet from Bordeaux. To them, terroir is the finger print of each wine. But no matter which opinion you agree with, it’s clear to our taste buds that something must account for why wines from the same varietal, which are made using the same or similar winemaking techniques, taste different when grown in different corners of the world.
What better way to learn about terroir than to drink the wines that come from the terroir you know best – your local terroir! Wineries have popped up in all 50 states (yes, even Alaska) and their numbers are on the rise. If you can drink your local wine at the winery, you’ll support a local business and have the chance to speak with some of the people who are actively working to decode your local terroir. Not every local wine will climb to the level of being an elixir, but who knows? You may find diamonds in the rough in your own backyard – we can all drink to that!