Terroir, terroir on the wall
In order to truly appreciate the fruit of a terroir, it helps to understand its origins and particular features.
Terroir is a vital concept in Bordeaux. Its definition incorporates far more subtle elements than just the geographical area it implies. It is an interaction between various different factors, an alchemy between soil, climate, altitude and of course human actions and expertise.
The topography of Saint-Emilion – Pomerol – Fronsac area is slightly hilly with plateaus and hillsides. This helps drainage in certain types of soil, for example.
In terms of climate, the area is typically oceanic and temperate as is the case throughout the Bordeaux region, cradled by the Gulf Stream and protected by the Landes forest, and although we are further inland with a more markedly continental character, the presence of the Dordogne and the Isle help to temper this.
The soils are diverse, alternating between combinations of gravel, sand, clay and limestone.
All of these elements are conducive to growing Merlot, the king of the grape varieties used in Saint-Emilion – Pomerol – Fronsac wines. It offers incomparable aromatic richness, colour, suppleness and crispness on the palate. The bouquet immediately releases aromas of ripe red and black fruit and flowers, developing into fig or plum notes after a few years of ageing.
For a blend in accordance with the rules, this is supplemented by Cabernet Franc, whose fresh bouquet and tannins offer perfect structure and good ageing potential.
And don’t forget Cabernet Sauvignon, well-suited to hot and dry soils, which offers spicy notes, rich tannins and wines that will age well for a long time.