On rocky ground: The science of soil and wine taste

图片版权:Andrew Jefford

I should be jumping for joy. For years I’ve taught, researched and generally enthused about geology and its importance, and now my subject is making headlines in the world of wine.

‘Soil, not grapes, is the latest must-know when choosing a wine,’ Bloomberg tells me, for example. So why am I not full of joy? Well, because as a scientist I have to follow the evidence, and this leads me to query this new pre-eminence of vineyard geology.

Of course, a link between wine and the land has long been treasured as something special. It even survived the discovery of photosynthesis – that vines and wine are not made from matter drawn from the ground but almost wholly of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen, abstracted from water and the air.

The rocks and soils in which the vines grow are certainly still part of the scientific picture, but this pre-eminent role is something new.

Today there are restaurants with wine lists organised not by grape, wine style or country of origin, but by vineyard geology.

Translated by ICY

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