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Gluck on Terroir  Add/Read Comments

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God, the guy is an arse. I just hate his pomposity, his 'this is what I say so it is right' attitude and his way of having to make everything in the wine world irrelevant to those who drink wine. Why has he declared a 'war' against the basic concepts that make wine such a fascinating and ever varied subject? He, by the way, being Malcolm Gluck.

His latest rant covers terroir. He sums it up as "bullshit".

Terroir is a combination of the location of a vineyard and all that effects it - from the choice of grape, the soils it is planted in, the method of cultivation, the weather and sunlight and the intervention of man on such things. To cast aside all reason that such aspects have no effect on the final product to me is ludicrous!

I have read through the article twice now and cannot see any explanations as to why his thoughts are correct and everyone else is wrong. He doesn't name anyone else who supports his ideas either.

This war on terroir is, then, an unequal struggle. Massed against myself and my cohorts – a few wine writers, mostly in the New World, agree with me – are decades of acceptance of this concept of terroir by unthinking drinkers, the self-serving experts and the marketeers. These beliefs are also influenced by that cultural predisposition whereby many people think that the answer always lies in the soil. Just as humanity made myriad deities from the sun and the night sky, so we tend to believe that things grown have a special status. It has been the world of wine's most conspicuous victory of fantasy over logic that so many people relate to terroir without having a clue what it is they have faith in."

Terroir is not the be-all and end-all of wine making - winemakers have so many options and methods to effect the final product but the initial harvest and all that effects it does have an influence. Man is part of the terroir equation. Those with a modicum of interest in wine are not that fussed by the notions of terroir but to imply that everything about the vineyard is 'bullshit' is just wrong.

Gluck has always put himself as the champion of the underclass - banging on about how £2.99 wines are better than those at two, three or four times the price. His use of phrases such as 'canny tippler' and constantly implying that everyone else is trying to confuse and hoodwink the drinker shows a great deal about his attitude. I will refrain from any cynical implications between the two, article/rant and the publication of his new book ( £13.20).

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This entry Gluck on Terroir is under General


Putz! Class A putz! I read the article and while I think terroir is often given too much credit and the winemaker often to little, it does exist. And you can taste it. His restaurant metaphor does not work, since I don't know of any naturally occuring restaurants.
I don't know this guy, nor have I read his stuff, but the attempt to make wine writers, makers, and retailers out as charlatans, is a bit silly.

Thanks for your rant!

...if that were the case ( terroir isnt important) then how come lafite and co. havent set up vineyards in the UK...

I dont believe it...unless he lives in a vacuum...

sounds like he's just trying to get buzz to schlep his new book.

It's the age of Jade Goody. Maybe Gluck is the pen name of her mother.

Too bad this cowardly lightweight doesn't offer any interactivity/comment room for rebuttal, for he'd get a ton of it. Ah, maybe that's just as well.

There is a website under his Superplonk banner; not sure how popular it is since he finished writing for the nationals and I think there is a subscription only area.

Bang on. Top post. If there's no such thing as terroir then how did 35 people at the wine course I was at last week regularly manage to identify wines (blind) to within as little as a mile? Those of us who've found terroir in a wine need to point out this nonsense is wrong.

Gluck is definitely a contrarian (I'm being EXTREMELY kind today).

Terroir DOES matter. Tomorrow I'll be demonstrating exactly that in a Riesling vertical & horizontal tasting. When you have the SAME year, SAME winemaker, merely different sites (and occasionally different ripeness levels) but you get substantial different character in the wine, the argument for terroir is made. Similarly, SAME winemaker, SAME vineyard, SAME ripeness levels, DIFFERENT years, you reach the same "terroir matters" conclusion.

I've now run quite a number of terroir-based tastings and customers are fascinated by the differences that location/micro-climate ("terroir") make.

In my view, it is exactly the predominantly New World/Winemaker-dominated wines that are ruining and "dumbing down" the diversity and excitement of wine. Lots of the New World wineries are huge. They seek to have a style that is the same from year to year and location to location. This can be done (or nearly so) by the winemaker but it results in "soda-pop" wine - wine that is the same in every bottle. That's not what wine is to me but, I guess, that's what lots of soda drinkers turned wine drinkers want - something predictable.

I guess the customer is always right but I don't want those customers. Give me people with an open mind and a willingness to be thrilled and surprised by what they are drinking. Of course, there is always the possibility that you will be some duds when you experiment with your wine choices. But that, too, brings knowledge and enlightenment and can be fun.

Along those lines, read the book "Love by the Glass: tasting notes from a marriage" by Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher. It may be the best book I've read about wine - relating the wine education and experiences over decades of two non-professional wine drinkers who, as a result of their passion, became the wine writers for the Wall Street Journal.

Terroir rules!

'Who cares what it tastes like so long as it's home-produced' (Peer Gynt). The notion of terroir is ultimately about patriotism, and like that concept is the first refuge of the scoundrel. My all means defend your own product but don't make the mistake of believing that yours is automatically better than anyone elses. A sensible person judges wine by the taste, not the label.

I wonder why many wine makers speak of their terrior? Loosen talks about the differences in the many vineyards sites in the Mosel. You can taste the differences. The wines are made the same, the same wine maker. How do you explain the the complete different taste profile?

The argument against "terroir" used to be that the New World wines all sold their wines according to the grape variety and not where they came from. However increasingly people now talk about a, Napa Valley wine or a Hawks Bay wine which seems to be reverting to the place they like their wine to come from ..."terroir".

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