Tasting the Terroir

by Scott Anderson on February 15, 2010

Is it just me or are all the wine writers suddenly hyperventilating about “terroir”? I guess more to the point, I’m suddenly seeing many stories, interviews and features on the concept, so maybe this topic is just all the rage. This is a good thing.

“At its core is the assumption that the land from which the grapes are grown imparts a unique quality that is specific to that region.” (Source=Wikipedia)

Grapes and Wine Glasses

Tasting the Terroir

My ears perk up at the mention of terroir because we have a dozen Santa Cruz Mountains winery clients. Most of them are also mountain farmers, who brave high-altitude weather, deer, birds and steep hillsides. Not a profession for the faint of heart. And every owner farmer I’ve met believes the sunny slopes of these ocean-touching mountains impart a unique flavor to their grapes, a flavor found nowhere else.

Conventional wisdom has it that these mountains above Saratoga and Los Gatos and beyond produce superior Pinot Noirs. Early commercial success David Bruce made wine in the mountains above Los Gatos and dozens of others now offer their take on the delicate grape. So it seems to be true – if you want to taste great pinot noir and savor the terroir, the mountains above Los Gatos and Saratoga are the closest access. And by the way, if you enjoy carving your way up serpentine mountain roads, you’ll also be savoring the drive.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mary Lindsay April 5, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Yes, it is true that the terroir of the Santa Cruz Mts. is distinctive and you can taste this in our wines. Generally, SC Mts. wines are characterized by their minerality and acidity, that is influenced by our coastal climate, soils, and native vegetation. In fact, we have recently identified six subregions of the SC Mts., each of which possesses a unique terroir reflected in the winegrapes grown in that subregion. They are: Los Gatos/Saratoga; Summit (up around Summit Rd.); Skyline; Ben Lomond; the Coastal Foothills (below Summit Rd. to the coast); and Corralitos.

Pinot Paradise is March 27-28, with the Grand Cruz tasting on Sunday the 28th at the Villa Ragusa conference center in Campbell. This is a celebration of Santa Cruz Mts. Pinot Noirs. You can enjoy Pinots from over 30 local wineries, and food provided by over a dozen local restaurants, including from Los Gatos: Restaurant James Randall, CinCin and Nonno’s (from Redwood Estates). This is an opportunity to discover the terroir of the Santa Cruz Mountains and its six subregions. For more information and tickets to Pinot Paradise, go to the SCMWA website at http://www.scmwa.com.

- Mary Lindsay,
Muns Vineyard
Silver Mountain

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