The Science Behind the Poetry of Terroir Discovered

We all know soil plays a huge role in wine development, but the way qualities like “wet slate” and “minerality” find their way into the final product has been one of the great mysteries of wine for centuries. The Wall Street Journal shares new research that is helping to pin down the idea of terroir or “the natural environment of a vineyard” in concrete terms. It seems water retention in vines plays a major role, as does microbial fungi. Other research is concentrated on, “The process of cation exchange, whereby roots trade hydrogen ions with cations attached to negatively charged soil particles.” Though wine description can sometimes come across as opaque or sentimental, there is science behind the poetry. [The Wall Street Journal] [Photo: Flickr/Guttorm Flattabø]