Eric Asimov Explains the Untranslatable "Terroir"
Grace of Eric Asimov, I finally understand the complex term "terroir," so I can now speak of it comfortably, without the hidden terror in my soul at the fear of being found out by the 'terroirists' for the ignoramus that I actually am:
It's often assumed . . . that terroir refers solely to the soil. Soil is a significant part of the equation, but terroir stands for so much more than dirt. The term, for which no English counterpart exists, embraces the microclimate of the vineyard and its elevation, its exposition to the sun and, often overlooked, the people who tend the grapes and make the wine.You see . . . it's complicated. But that's the best summary I've come across, and I'm glad to see that Eric Asimov is again writing on wine for the New York Times, this article - "'Listening' to Sancerre Tell Its Story" (NYT, May 5, 2014) - for I've enjoyed reading his intelligent, articulate writing in the past.
Though I would have written "its exposure to the sun" . . . unless that betrays some ignorance on my part concerning viticultural vocabulary.