Great wines can only be made from great grapes.
Great grapes come only from great vines.
Great vines grow only on great sites.
European winemakers have long recognized that the quality and character
of a wine depends largely on the grapes from which it is made. Grape
quality is primarily a function of the environment of the grapevine
– the bedrock, soil, and atmosphere that surround it. This environment
can be manipulated to some extent, but every vineyard site is unique.
That’s why the French place so much emphasis on terroir
– the expression of the vineyard environment in the wine. When marketing
wines, they emphasize terroir, not the winemaker or techniques of
vinification. The French know that when you have a great site, your
wine is made in the vineyard.
In Europe, it has taken hundreds of years of trial and error to determine
the ideal sites for each variety of wine grape. This process is just
beginning in North America. Even though every new vineyard is still
somewhat of a trial, site analyses that combine information from existing
topographic, geologic, and climatic databases with data from site-specific
studies now make it possible to greatly limit the possibility of error.
Macro-scale analyses can locate sites within a region that are generally
suitable for viticulture and micro-scale analyses can pinpoint sites
that have the greatest potential for producing the best fruit from
a specific variety.
and cobbles, Chateauneuf du Pape.