My mission, should I choose to accept it, (and of course I am) is to research “terroir.”
Okay, what exactly is terroir? Well, it depends on who you ask, which is why my magazine is devoting its fall issue to talking about terroir.
In general, terroir is defined as “place.” Place represents the soil composition, weather patterns, water drainage, sun exposure, and sometimes elevation of a particular plot of land where wine grapes are planted. Some people also include the culture and the human presence in the area to the list of characteristics that define terroir.
As you can probably tell, there are lots of variations on this definition and it is a hotly debated topic in the wine world. The traditionalists claim that wines can taste like the region where the grapes came from. Others argue that even if those subtleties exist, the vast majority of wine drinkers aren’t going to be able to tell, so why fuss about it.
My assignment is two-fold. First, I am going to be gathering definitions of “place” to be scattered throughout the magazine. My goal is to get an mélange of perspectives from wine people and “non-wine” people. Second, I am going to be calling a long list of wine growers and makers, and asking them a set of questions about “terroir,” polling-style.
So, before I got too far down the rabbit hole, I wanted to ask my fellow super-intelligent, “kick-ass” (Josh’s word, not mine) PDXSXers: have you guys heard any cool definitions of the notion of “place”?
Also, I’ve never done a poll before, so do you guys have any tips for running a really successful, relevant poll? Do you guys have any other tips or tricks for me?
¡Salud from San Francisco!