An Ever Changing Terroir

We’re not supposed to use the word ‘terroir’ anymore is what I heard. I think it’s because the word is elitist? But here’s another thing about terroir, it’s constantly changing. Even if we just call it the environment, the whole of the soil, climate, temperature, water source, altitude, latitude and all the other things that influence the growth of the grapes, it’s still changing, constantly changing.

Terroir is a biosphere of unplanned interaction. The constancy of uncertainty is part of its identity.

Chateau d’Issan was established in the 12th century. According to their website the wine was served at the wedding of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henri Plantagenet This was 400 years before the Dutch drained the marshes around Bordeaux changing the soils of the area and creating a much different terroir. 200 years after that there was a change in focus for grapes. In the early 1800’s right bank Bordeaux went from being Malbec dominant to becoming Cabernet Sauvignon dominant. 150 years later heat hearty grapes have been added to the list of allowed grapes in Bordeaux to adjust to global warming and the changes it is making to terroir.

Chateau d’Issan is a third growth in the 1855 classification. The 2017 has aromas of deep, rich black cherries and black plums, violets, spice, black tea and bitter dark chocolate. It’s a very elegant and graceful wine. It’s young and will change and evolve for decades.

Terroir changes. Wines evolve. Change becomes part of the terroir of the wine.