Why do the fine wines of France grow where they do? How can two
seemingly similar sites, even within a single vineyard, produce
wines of different quality? How much credit goes to the winemakers
and how much belongs to nature itself?
Who better to ponder these questions than a geologist and
wine-lover in equal measure? James E. Wilson is a firm believer
that "terroir" -- the interplay of natural elements that make up
the myriad environments in which vines grow -- is the key to
understanding why fine wines are produced where they are. Central
to the terroir concept is geology. Can it be pure coincidence that
France, the world''s greatest and most diverse wine country, has
within its boundaries an underlying geology that includes every
period of rock formation on earth?
This in-depth study, the result of years of meticulous research,
reveals the relationship between rocks and grapes. Here is natural
history and social history, little-known fact and anecdote, woven
into the compelling tale of how geology influences the quality of
wine. The book begins by revealing the components of the French
terroirs that influence the distribution of wine areas, choice of
grapes, and style of wines. Each rock type and its soils are
described, and the way soil structure affects the absorption of
vital nutrients by the vine roots is explained. The role of 2,000
years of history and people is traced. Early vignerons recognized
differences within and between their vineyard plots long before
geologic forms and processes were understood. Now, for the first
time, an explanation can be given for the distinctive personalities
of fine French wines.
Individual chapters describe the diverse geologies of thewine
regions, from the chalk slopes of Champagne to the plains of the
Rhone delta, from the granite slopes of Alsace and Beaujolais to
the gravel mounds of Bordeaux, and from the cliffs and terraces of
the Loire to the mountain slopes of the Pyrenees. Little-known
districts are discovered and world-famous ones, such as the Cote
d''Or, are celebrated for their viticultural riches.
James E. Wilson''s unparalleled research has resulted in a book
that will be appreciated by wine enthusiasts and professionals
alike. It is the ideal partner with which to contemplate the wine
in your glass.