Friday, January 21, 2011

The War on Terroir

In Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting That Revolutionized Wine ($9.90 paperback at, George Taber gives the following description (page 3):

So these guys (sorry, experts) were off by a few thousand miles, with a large continental landmass and an ocean between their assessments and reality.

Now, in Secrets of the Sommeliers: How to Think and Drink Like the World's Top Wine Professionals ($20.59 hardcover at, Rajat Parr is described as doing the following (page 3):

"Ach," Rajat cried, suddenly animated. " I was going to say Lafarge!" Not that it was necessary. The couple was more than impressed. Through congested nasal passages and with a dulled palate, Rajat had identified the grape variety, the country of origin, and the region precisely to a village of only eight hundred people in eastern France, as well as the wine's designation (Premier Cru) and the year in which it was made - a volume of information divined by the briefest interaction between nose, mouth, and wine. Had he been more on his game, he might have mentioned the name of the thirty-eight acre plot where the grapes were grown - Clos de Chenes - and the producer, Frederic Lafarge, whose hands worked that soil.

So Rajat (@RN74 on Twitter, web at can identify a wine down to the individual producer (when he doesn't have a cold).

Which scenario is more realistic?

You may also enjoy Roald Dahl's "Taste" in the Collected Short Stories of Roald Dahl ($35.37 hardcover at

No comments:

Post a Comment