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Great Wine Terroirsby Jacques Fanet
Synopses & Reviews
For centuries, France has long been the worldand#8217;s greatest wine-producing country. Its wines are the global gold standard, prized by collectors, and its winemaking regions each offer unique tasting experiences, from the spice of Bordeaux to the berry notes of the Loire Valley. Although grape variety, climate, and the skill of the winemaker are essential in making good wine, the foundation of a wineand#8217;s character is the soil in which its grapes are grown. Who could better guide us through the relationship between the French land and the wine than a geologist, someone who deeply understands the science behind the soil? Enter scientist Charles Frankel.
In Land and Wine, Frankel takes readers on a tour of the French winemaking regions to illustrate how the soil, underlying bedrock, relief, and microclimate shape the personality of a wine. The bookand#8217;s twelve chapters each focus in depth on a different region, including the Loire Valley, Alsace, Burgundy, Champagne, Provence, the Rhand#244;ne valley, and Bordeaux, to explore the full meaning of terroir. and#160;In this approachable guide, Frankel describes how Cabernet Franc takes on a completely different character depending on whether it is grown on gravel or limestone; how Sauvignon yields three different products in the hills of Sancerre when rooted in limestone, marl, or flint; how Pinot Noir will give radically different wines on a single hill in Burgundy as the vines progress upslope; and how the soil of each chand#226;teau in Bordeaux has a say in the blend ratios of Merlot and Cabernet-Sauvignon. Land and Wine provides a detailed understanding of the variety of French wine as well as a look at the geological history of France, complete with volcanic eruptions, a parade of dinosaurs, and a menagerie of evolution that has left its fossils flavoring the vineyards.
Both the uninitiated wine drinker and the confirmed oenophile will find much to savor in this fun guide that Frankel has spiked with anecdotes about winemakers and historic wine enthusiastsand#151;revealing which kings, poets, and philosophers liked which wines bestand#151;while offering travel tips and itineraries for visiting the wineries today.
A companionable guide to the geology and soil (terroir) of the best vineyards in France.and#160; There exist only a handful of technical books about theand#160;terroirand#160;of France, and experts tell us there is always room for one moreand#151;especially if it is written in accessible prose.and#160; Charles Frankel is a geologist, adventurer, and science writer who has published books about geology, history of the earth (dinosaurs!), and outer space.and#160; Here, he deciphers the influence of the land on the aroma and quality of wines.and#160; Although the grape variety, climate, and skill of the winemaker are essential components, Frankel ably demonstrates how the geology also has a notable influence on the vineyard, the flavors and qualities of wine. The book takes us on a journey to experience the land of France, to admire the landscape, tracing the ancient history of its soil and subsoil, meeting the proprietors of vineyards, and enjoying some of the best wines along the way.and#160; The journey begins 445 million years ago and traces the development of the area that is now continental France up to the present day.and#160; We come to understand why the Beaujolais region produces its distinctive flavors and aromas (thanks to preponderances of manganese, sodium, and certain and#147;rotten rocksand#8221;).and#160; We tour Alsace and Touraine, Provence and Languedoc, Champagne, Bordeaux, the Rhone Valley, and other areas.and#160; Frankel proves an able and interesting tour guide.and#160; He also provides maps, detailed compositional tables of specific vintages, technical drawings of regional geologies, a glossary of terms, and an index of useful websites.
"The vine and its wine are a great mystery. Only the vine reveals to us what is the real taste of the earth," writes Colette. In this sumptuously illustrated and wonderfully informative book, Jacques Fanet invites us on an entertaining tour of the world's most celebrated winegrowing regions to discover the characteristics of the bond that ties the vine to its place of birth: the terroir. Terroir is a uniquely French term for the subtle interaction of natural factors and human skills that define the characteristics of each winegrowing region.
Interviewing growers and researchers in France, Spain, Italy, California, Chile, Australia, and South Africa, Fanet looks for the soil in the soul of each wine. He takes us back millions of years to show how movements in the ancient bedrock, faults, mountain building, tidal flow, sedimentation, and volcanic activity contribute to the precise and individual character of each terroir, making the great winegrowing regions what they are today. Great Wine Terroirs provides wine enthusiasts with everything they will want to know about different soils and climates, the relationship between international grape varieties and the soil in which they grow, and how these factors affect the taste of the wines.
Color geological illustrations and timelines support the text and explain key phenomena. Fanet also provides a glossary, geographical index, and index of soil types and grape varieties. He explains enological practices and their effect on the terroirs and answers questions such as why the Chand#226;teauneuf plateau, almost 300 feet about the Rhand#244;ne Valley, is surrounded by river alluvia and why there are fossilized oysters in the soils of Chablis. Those interested in the wine of California will find a lively discussion of the Napa Valley, with a detailed explanation of how the San Andreas fault, the Sierra Nevada, and the Great Central Valley have all played a part in creating the most spectacular wine-producing region on the continent.
About the Author
Jacques Fanet is a specialist in soil science, viticulture, and enology. He was Assistant Director of the National Institute of Appellations (INAO) in France.
Table of Contents
Terroir: Myth or Reality
Vineyards on the Edges of Faults
The Ancient Basement
Vineyards in the Foothills of Mountains
Index: Grape Varieties
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