Land and Wine

Land and Wine

The French Terroir

Book - 2014
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A companionable guide to the geology and soil (terroir) of the best vineyards in France. There exist only a handful of technical books about theterroir of France, and experts tell us there is always room for one moreespecially if it is written in accessible prose. Charles Frankel is a geologist, adventurer, and science writer who has published books about geology, history of the earth (dinosaurs!), and outer space. Here, he deciphers the influence of the land on the aroma and quality of wines. 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. The journey begins 445 million years ago and traces the development of the area that is now continental France up to the present day. We come to understand why the Beaujolais region produces its distinctive flavors and aromas (thanks to preponderances of manganese, sodium, and certain rotten rocks”). We tour Alsace and Touraine, Provence and Languedoc, Champagne, Bordeaux, the Rhone Valley, and other areas. Frankel proves an able and interesting tour guide. 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.

For centuries, France has long been the world’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 wine’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 book’s twelve chapters each focus in depth on a different region, including the Loire Valley, Alsace, Burgundy, Champagne, Provence, the Rhône valley, and Bordeaux, to explore the full meaning ofterroir. 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 château 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 enthusiastsrevealing which kings, poets, and philosophers liked which wines bestwhile offering travel tips and itineraries for visiting the wineries today.


Publisher: Chicago ;, London :, The University of Chicago Press,, 2014
ISBN: 9780226014692
022601469X
Characteristics: xii, 251 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Varriano, John L.

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