What is terroir of wines? The climate, the grape, the land and the orientation of the vineyard, all this includes the concept “terroir”.
It is therefore a word that groups within itself, some basic concepts of the composition of a wine.
The wine no longer only depends on its preparation and aging, nowadays thanks to advanced techniques, the concept of “terroir” is the result of research into different aspects that encompass wine.
Its origin is French, to differentiate the wines produced in a specific area with specific characteristics. Sometimes the concept covers whole regions.
What is the terroir of wines
It is therefore a matter of defining, with one word, some extraordinary wines, produced and elaborated in a specific way.
The wines produced under this concept in France are called “cross” in Bordeaux, or “clos” in Burgundy. In Spain we call it “payment wines” or “estate wines”.
The Denominación de Origen de Pago wines have nothing to do with what we are talking about, since the latter are caught by a quality brand.
Important factor in the upbringing of the vineyards and the grape. Sometimes this aspect is specified when a certain area has a “microclimate”, ideal for the production of grapes.
Element of vital importance in the development of the vine, is at the same time the most difficult to control, because it does not depend on the farmer.
The rain, the sun, the heat or the cold, determine the development of the vineyards.
The function of climate
Depending on the climate in which the vineyard is grown (continental or Mediterranean), it will be the fruit that it provides. Farmers in this aspect can only handle the variable water, which, in case of need for lack of rain, can be solved with irrigation.
Therefore, depending on the climate we have in the area, we must plant some strains or others, in order to better adapt to the climate that is enjoyed.
In cold climates, it is advisable to plant strains of early maturation.
The Earth. What is the terroir of wines
Possibly the land, is one of the elements that can best vary and manage the farmer. The pH of the land can be modified with phosphates and fertilizers appropriate for the case.
You can even increase the production of the vine by adding to the soil the fertilizers and nutrients that you lack.
But the fact that the land is the most manageable element, does not stop being the element that most influences the development of the grape, and therefore in the quality of the wine.
The vine usually adapts to almost any terrain, in that sense it is an extremely grateful plant, but the care of this will have a direct impact on the quality of the grape.
The same type of grape, can be developed in completely different lands, and with different climates, but the characteristics of its wines, will also be completely different.
Minerals of the earth
The acidity, and the degree of alcohol of the grape will vary sensibly.
The most important elements that the earth must contain for the development of the vine are: iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen.
Each one will give the grape different qualities. Thus, iron determines the color that the wine will have, while potassium provides resistance to the plant.
The orientation of the vineyard
We have often heard the phrase “wine is made in the vineyard”.
Before starting to produce grapes, we must decide:
what land is suitable for planting the vine,
and what guidance you should have.
The orientation of the vineyard, conditions the growth and metabolism of the leaves and bunches.
The erosion of the soil, the capacity to absorb water from the land, and even the necessary mechanization work in the development of the vine, are conditioned by the orientation we give to the vineyard.
For the vine, the best hours to receive the sun’s rays, is in the first hours of the morning. Therefore, the best orientation of the plants will be SE.
But this is not something definitive, since the orientation of the rows and of the plants will depend on each zone of factors, such as:
In a glass plantation, the orientation of the vineyards takes a backseat. The plant receives sun in all its orientations and the wind favors sunstroke in all directions.
In the case of “espalier” cultivation, there is a lot of care in selecting the orientation of the vineyard in each plot.
Grape and variety used in winemaking make the difference.
Characteristic of a grape in particular, determine many aspects of the wine that we elaborate. A rainfed variety is not the same as a grape grown in the cold or in rainy climates.
The aspects of humidity in the cultivation of the vine, will not determine aspects of the health of the grape.
This is the case of the appearance of fungi, so high levels of moisture in the vine plant, can bring the appearance of fungi.
There are very productive grapes, depending on the land where they are grown.
Type of Grape
Each type of grape should be grown in the appropriate terrain and with the appropriate climates.
The different types of grapes used in the production of wine, we will provide different aspects of taste, color, and aroma of wine.
In the production of Champagne wine, red grapes are used. What gives color to wines is found in the skin of the grape.
The grape must is colorless. Its contact with the skin is what determines the color of the wine.
Conclusions. What is the terroir of wines
Once analyzed the different concepts that form the word “terroir”. We can affirm that it is almost practically impossible that two vineyards have the same composition of these factors.
Talk about wine is a step back in time, and contemplate many factors that have intervened in the development of what we are savoring.