The word ‘terroir’ originally derives from the Latin word territorium, or ‘territory’, but over time it lost that association and took on the meaning of the French word Terre, or “earth”.
in the seventeenth century, the word “terroir” was used to refer to the soil and subsoil only, and anything tasting of the earth was frowned apon as being something rustic, or worse, unclear (Matthew, 2015)
In modern times, “terroir” has taken on a broader meaning, one that encompasses the highly complex interaction of grape variety, soil, climate, and human involvement in the production of distinctive wines from a specific site or area. (Seguin 1986; Van Leeuwen and Seguin 2006)
The Notion of terroir today includes all the features of a landscape and of the past and present societies that have, or have had, an effect on the wine you drink. Therefore, many different factors contribute to the terroir in their own important way.
When you plant the same grape variety in different areas, they make remarkable different wines.
Looking for terroir in wine is not the playground of a privileged few. At different levels, terroir in wine speaks to all wine lovers. Terroir is more than a physical, viticultural, or winemaking concept leading to different biochemical outcomes. There are important cultural, intellectual, socioeconomic, ecological and spiritual components to terroir.
Come visit Atlas Swift for our take on Terroir through the cape, with Chardonnay.