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The Essence of Wine: Earth


Image © 2012 Leigh Beisch

Earth. The first of the elements that the ancients held as the basis for all life. The source of all our sustenance. Wine has always been inextricably linked to the dirt, the root of terroir. That wine can sometimes taste or smell of earth should come as no surprise. Like walking through the spongy loam of a dark wet forest, scents of soil and mushroom, dust and mud often resonate with a dark bass note underneath other flavors and aromas. Flavors of earth are often borne on the textures of tannin, as if the very liquid had been strained through deep roots. Wines that express something of the dirt from which they spring are revered for this transmutation of place into taste, and justifiably so. The smell of the wet ground touches the deepest memories of our species, reminding us from whence we came, and to where we will return.

Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon, Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley, USA
Vignes du Maynes "Manganite" Rouge, Macon Cruzille, Burgundy, France
Chateau Beychevelle, St. Julien, Médoc, Bordeaux, France
Quinta de Roriz "Prazo de Roriz", Douro, Portugal

This is part of an ongoing series of original images and prose called The Essence of Wine

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud