Wine portrait: Pinot Noir 2008 hope & grace.

The French use a term “terroir” to talk about a wine’s expression of place.  They say that only certain wines express terroir which means they express the land and its temperament. We experience terroir  as sensory qualities of  a wine’s nature, its personality and spirit.

What influences ‘terroir’

  • land where the grapes are grown
  •  qualities of the soil
  • climate
  • the grape
  • soul

It is said, some winemakers bring out the terroir better than others.  That means they are bringing out the essential nature of the grape.  According to some,  biodynamic farming accentuates terroir, and expression of place and the grape.

One grape grower told me that terroir to him included the winemaker and even the person drinking the wine.

What I am calling INNER TERROIR is the expression a wine makes as a result of the outer aspects of terroir and the touch of the winemaker.

Inner terroir is that HIDDEN CHARACTER of a wine as revealed with a microscope.

This inner terroir shows us the personal expression of a wine.

Some wines only reveal circles, others are complex and flowing.  Others may also show hints of age and clues to longevity.  They are enticing expressions of the wine’s inner world.

Basically you could call ‘inner terroir,”  the spiritual expression of a wine.

Sauvignon blanc, Sterling

Sauvignon blanc, Benziger

The spirit in some white wines is lithe, lively, lean.


Other wines reveal a rounded or shapely nature.

Pinot Noir, Freeman Sonoma Coast

Pinot Noir, Kosta Browne, Santa Lucia Highlands








Top portrait is a pinot noir, hope & grace, Santa Lucia Highlands

What kind of wine personality is your favorite?

Mine, is definitely the rounded expressions.  My palate doesn’t enjoy the linear style.

Want to explore more wine stories? Buy a copy of my book WINE’S HIDDEN BEAUTY while they last.