Alan Rath wrote: ↑April 6th, 2021, 8:24 pm
Jonathan Loesberg wrote: ↑April 6th, 2021, 1:47 pm
Look, if as is the case with many of you commenting here, you really don't believe either a)in the significance of terroir or. b)in the reality of it as a definable category, than it is pretty meaningless to comment on what Brunier says. If terroir either doesn't matter or doesn't exist, it hardly matters to it whether one irrigates or not.
Well, I absolutely believe in the significance of terroir. But I don’t think the distinction between rain and irrigation is nearly as big a factor as soil, temperature, and sunlight. A grower can mimic rain, but none of those other factors.
But really, I just find Brunier’s comment self serving and a put down of anyone who doesn’t do things exactly like him. Totally unnecessary. Quite frankly, I’ve found his wines to be overly ripe in most recent vintages, and haven’t bought one in years.
But what if they could? Irrigating in many places was impossible until technology advanced to the point where it was possible and deployable at scale. Before modern irrigation would anyone say rain and hydrology doesn't matter as much as soil? (and I saw hydrology since purely thinking about rain is too simple - water tables, underground creeks and other factors are all part of the equation).
Terroir is mostly about distilling these concepts into their most basic essence. Of course the idea of "nothing added, nothing taken away" is fanciful and impossible as human intervention is necessary to make the wine and put in the bottle. But is part of an effort to see things as they really are or could be in their most natural state.
Similar discussions happen in other fields, look no further than athletics and Olympic sports. Use of PEDs, technology in fabrics, shoes and everything in between are factors. But at the end of the day our fascination with the Olympics and other sports are about human capability and endeavors. Which is why Lance Armstrong was a triumph in the past, and a tragedy now that we understand the extent of his blood doping. Some could argue why that's the case - after all his effort and athleticism was still unique and extraordinary. That's true - but he was tainted by the fact that we could no longer look at his performance separate from the blood doping which undoubtedly improved or changed his performance - and the mythology is shattered.
Others will certainly disagree, but this is true in many of the same ways for wine. Many of us, and certainly the culture of wine is seeking vintages and places where these exceptional wines come into being. I personally don't believe that the best Bordeaux come from Haut Brion, Margaux or a First Growth every year, it very well could be that in time we discover that Leoville Barton made the wine of the vintage due to the unique circumstances of the vintage in conjunction with their unique vineyard. Minimizing human intervention allows us to keep the mystery and mythology intact. An exceptional year, an exceptional vineyard, where everything could come into place...that's what so many are seeking. And also, something yet beautiful from a great struggle of a vintage equally the same.
And some may want to be less romantic or more practical in the way they look at or participate in wine. But for some of us, we know that the mythology can be true, and these moments of place and time do come together are possible. And all of that elevates how we relate to wine, and how inconceivable on its face that mere grapes grown on a vine could last for decades in a bottle and become so transcendent. For me, I know it's all possible, I know it's true, and so it seems that all of these decisions, or interventions, or however we choose to look at them can be meaningful in how we relate to this tradition and experience of wine.