Human Terroir

By Guest Blogger Judd Wallenbrock of Humanitas Wines.

Nature vs. nurture…an age old question, right?  In wine, often times we’ll plant the exact same rootstock and bolt on the exact same varietal & clone in different locations, and lo and behold, the wines taste different.  Now, that could be the influence of the farmer or it could be the influence of the winemaker, or it could be a combination of all three elements.  But the reality is that a wine should taste like the place.  This is the essence of terroir.

The ‘Good Earth’ series of Humanitas wines is a celebration of site – making a wine that fully expresses and honors that specific vineyard.  I think intuitively people understand this, but at the core, sometimes it is hard to grasp that a Cabernet from Howell Mountain in Napa can taste so different than a Cabernet from say, Coombsville…let alone Paso Robles.

I thought a parallel might help make a bit more sense of this so I’m putting it in human terms.  For example, I was born in the year when there were more people born in the US than any other year in history (do a little homework and you’ll figure out my birth year and age!).  What that means is that there are a lot of ‘me’ out there and genetically, we all almost identical.  Yet I was born as a little surf rat in Southern California and I responded to my surroundings in the way I dressed, the way I wore my hair, the way I spoke, the things I ate, etc, etc.  I have my own ‘flavor’ that was much different from say, the guy exactly my age, but born and raised in the Bronx, who has his distinct ‘flavor’. 

Now think of Pinot Noir.  This grape is genetically almost identical in Napa Valley, Burgundy, Oregon – everywhere.  But line up a selection of Pinots all ‘born’ in the same year and taste…no savor…the differences.  Again, it may be the farmer or the winemaker who influenced the style…but mostly it is the place that makes the wine so distinct. 

And speaking of genetics, Humanitas is donating 10% of all sales of our Humanitas 2012 ‘Truchard Vineyard’ Pinot Noir through the Cellar Angels campaign to the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation.  These folks are doing the noble work of genome sequencing to ultimately find a cure for the cancer, and their work is stunning.  To learn more, here are two links – one featuring yours truly on the CBS affiliate in Sioux Falls, South Dakota (home to the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation) Wine For A Greater Cause; and the other to the charity itself Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation.

Thanks, and as always, drink charitably!

From the Angels: Learn more about the 2012 ‘Truchard Vineyard’ Pinot Noir on www.cellarangels.com.  Your purchase will support the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation AND another special cause of your choice.  Cheers!

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