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Terroir: The Role of Geology, Climate, and Culture in the Making of French Wines

Overview

The French word terroir is used to describe all the ecological factors that make a particular type of wine special to the region of its origin. James E. Wilson uses his training as a geologist and his years of research in the wine regions of France to fully examine the concept of terroir. The result combines natural history, social history, and scientific study, making this a unique book that all wine connoisseurs and professionals will want close at hand.


In Part One Wilson ...

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Overview

The French word terroir is used to describe all the ecological factors that make a particular type of wine special to the region of its origin. James E. Wilson uses his training as a geologist and his years of research in the wine regions of France to fully examine the concept of terroir. The result combines natural history, social history, and scientific study, making this a unique book that all wine connoisseurs and professionals will want close at hand.


In Part One Wilson introduces the full range of environmental factors that together form terroir. He explains France's geological foundation; its soil, considered the "soul" of a vineyard; the various climates and microclimates; the vines, their history and how each type has evolved; and the role that humans—from ancient monks to modern enologists—have played in viticulture.

Part Two examines the history and habitat of each of France's major wine regions. Wilson explores the question of why one site yields great wines while an adjacent site yields wines of lesser quality. He also looks at cultural influences such as migration and trade and at the adaptations made by centuries of vignerons to produce distinctive wine styles.

Wilson skillfully presents both technical information and personal anecdotes, and the book's photographs, maps, and geologic renderings are extremely helpful. The appendices contain a glossary and information on the labeling of French wines. With a wealth of information explained in clear English, Wilson's book enables wine readers to understand and appreciate the mystique of terroir.

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Editorial Reviews

Richard Neil
James Wilson's Terroir is an admittedly dry but nonetheless important reference work on Terroir, undoubtedly one of the best French marketing tools ever invented. If you want to understand the links between chalk and fine bubbles or cap-rock scarps and beautiful Pinot Noir, this book is for you.
Food&Wine
Food & Wine
An...important reference work.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520219366
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/1999
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

James E. Wilson is a former Vice President for Exploration and Production at Shell Oil.
In his second career he has devoted himself to the study of the natural history and underlying geology of French wines. He lives in Colorado. Hugh Johnson writes the annual best-seller, Pocket Wine Book and is also author of World Atlas of Wine, now in its fourth edition.

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Table of Contents

Foreword 4
Introduction 5
Pt. 1 Elements of the French terroirs
1 The habitat: what makes good grapes 8
Terroir, a unique French term 55
Glossary of terms 57
Pt. 2 Where the wines grow
2 Champagne: chalk country 64
3 Alsace: granite slopes, marly hills 82
4 Burgundy: parade of cap-rock scarps 108
5 Aquitaine: a basin filled with rivers, geology, and history 164
6 Bordeaux: gravel mounds, limestone plateaux 185
7 The Southwest: river terraces, sheets of molasse 214
8 The Loire: converging rivers, chalk hills, ancient rocks 227
9 The Kimmeridgian Chain: a band of chalky scarps 244
10 Auvergne-Bourbonnais: a rift shadowed by volcanic peaks 265
11 The Rhone and the Southeast: rootless mountains - shear geology 268
12 Languedoc-Roussillon: battered rocks, relentless sun 313
Bibliography 327
Acknowledgments 329
Index 330
Photographic credits 336
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2001

    scary stories

    I read Terrior Stories by Louisa Alcott. If you liek stories that are mysteries adn scary at the same time then you will like this story. THere are a bunch of stories that are scary. The main point of this story is to scare you because you think one thing is goin to happen and something else haoppens. There is this gurl named ali and she is always plain tricks on someone. but hs efinally learns her lesson. I thought that this book was ok so that why i gave it 3 stars.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2000

    CHAPEAU!!!

    I have enjoyed every page of the book. It tells you where the making of wine really begins.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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