Where does your favourite wine get its flavour? Why do wines from different regions taste different? What makes a wine unique? Here’s your guide to a wine’s personality.
A wine is like a person really. Just as we are unique individuals based on our culture, upbringing, education etc. every wine is unique because of the influences during its production. We call this influence of natural environment – Terroir.
Terroir in French means Terre or soil. In wine glossary this translates in to the holistic influence of factors such as soil, climate, terrain, grape varieties etc. on the characteristics of wine such as flavour, alcohol, acidity etc. A Terroir can be a large region or even smaller zones within a vineyard. Let’s take a look at how different Terroir components affect wine.
For wine, the temperature grapes are exposed to during the growing cycle makes significant difference to its flavour. In fact it is one of the most important factors since it creates easily identifiable differentiators in terms of taste. This is because grapes produce more sugar in hot regions and less sugar in cool regions.
A wine coming from a cool climate therefore is lower in alcohol content and more acidic. It also has a lighter body, and typically bright fruit flavours. Hot climates on the other had produce bolder, full bodied wines that are high in alcohol content, yet low on acidity.
Interestingly, soils that are poor quality to grow other crops in produce good quality grapes. The type of soil makes a difference to the flavour of wine in many ways. One, soils add minerality to wines, two they affect the ambient temperature in the vineyard by absorbing or reflecting sunlight, and three they control the water supply to grapes. Too much or too little water in grapes can result in poor quality of wines.
Quite literally the lay of the land is important for a good wine. Factors such as altitude, slope, geological features etc. affect how a regional wine tastes. Terrain determines how much sunlight grapes receive – too much and you get a bitter, jammy wine and too little you get unripe, green flavours. It also impacts temperature – high altitude vineyards are cooler compared to low altitude ones.
Other than these factors, some connoisseurs also consider the regional winemaking tradition to be an influence on a wine’s terroir.
At Big Banyan, we’ve spent years perfecting a combination of Terroir to create unique wines that cater to every palate. Check out the interesting flavours of our wines here.