As if the famously untranslatable French concept of terroir wasn't complicated enough. Harrumph. We wine lovers have enough on our hands arguing late into the evening about whether local yeast is part of terroir; or whether it includes or excludes climate and weather; or if in fact it is only soil geology; or perhaps if it is something beyond the knowledge of man. Its all so very complicated, and now apparently we have to factor in the nearby dead fish as well.
Yet we cannot deny the fact that there really is something to the notion of a circle of life, no matter how awful that Disney song really is. Fisheries biologists (though perhaps not the MOST objective people in matters such as these) have determined that the dead salmon in the Mokelumne and Calaveras river drainages in Northern California may be responsible for up to 25% of the nitrogen in the soil in the vineyard lands immediately surrounding the river.
It sounds crazy at first, but the carcasses of the Salmon, who die naturally after spawning, become food for dozens of scavenger species who then drag, drop, and excrete bits of salmon onto the surrounding land where it enriches the soil. You've heard the one about the bear in the woods right? What about the vulture in the vineyard?
Of course this is all moot for some, who claim that California vineyards have no terroir (and are therefore inferior to those in Europe that do possess this mystical elusive quality) but I for one, will definitely be looking for that small hint of marine vertebrate the next time I taste something from Amador county.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Vinography Images: The Blue Berry 2014 Family Winemakers Tasting: August 17, San Mateo Will Climate Change be the Death of Cork? The King of Zweigelt: The Wines of Umathum, Burgenland Vinography Unboxed: Week of July 14, 2014 Vinography Images: Solar Powered Dot Wine and the Fear of Change Annual Napa Wine Library Tasting: August 10, Napa Vinography Unboxed: Week of July 7, 2014 Vinography Images: The Berry
Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo, Toyama Prefecture Wine.Com Gives Retailers (and Consumers) the Finger 1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais, Burgundy Wine Over Time The Better Half of My Palate 1999 KirÃ¡lyudvar "Lapis" Tokaji Furmint, Hungary What's Allowed in Your Wine and Winemaking Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Appreciating Wine in Context The Soul vs. The Market 1989 Fiorano Botte 48 Semillion,Italy