Wine is geography in a bottle

So says Jancis Robinson, a well known English wine author and Master of Wine.  I was pleasantly surprised to hear her on the Grape Radio podcast, where she repeats what I assume is a long-time maxim of hers (tune in about 17m20 for the question that leads up to it; quote below).  So far the entire interview is great – I’m about 1/3 the way through it, and she’s a wonderful speaker.

“As for say, California wine, the tradition has grown up, hasn’t it, that most of it is varietally labelled.  I think it’s quite nice to see more and more vineyard names on the label, and I think that’s a healthy trend.

More and more the wine world is getting increasingly interested in geography, and realizing that that is the quintessence of wine, really – wine is geography in a bottle.”

This is exactly the sentiment we are coming from with the Mapovino project.  The question that comes up for us is – at what point does geography become so precise that the wines are too expensive (frequent in single-vineyard U.S. wines), or the so imprecise that the geography doesn’t matter much any more – does “Loire” or even “Napa” have any real geographic meaning when it comes to the nature of the wines produced?  Perhaps only in the traditions practiced within that geopgraphy – but that is a longer, ongoing discussion.

Speaking of Jancis, she also gave her insight on “cellar taste” in the SF Chronicle- the phenomenon of getting so used to a particular style of wine that other wines seem out of balance when you try them.  Most noticeably this happens to me when switching from Old World to New World wines, and that’s why the single wine club I belong to actually features wines from around the world.  Because I know every time I walk into a store, I head towards the French and Italian sections….

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2 Responses to “Wine is geography in a bottle”



  1. 1 Wine Stories « Goat at Large Trackback on January 28, 2008 at 10:36 am
  2. 2 Times Emit: Apt’s links for July 11th Trackback on July 11, 2008 at 4:34 pm
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