Wine Columns for Week of May 2

Yesterday's NYT Style Magazine featured a provocative joint disposition against terroir by Harold McGee and Daniel Patterson (of Coi and the infamous "To the Moon, Alice?" piece). It begins somewhat reductively -- taking as its starting point that the notion of terroir means very literally tasting rocks in a glass of wine -- but it comes to an admirably poised conclusion that manages to balance a humanistic compassion for local growing with a rejection of terroir's suspicion of human intervention:

Scientists and historians continue to illuminate what Peynaud described as the 'dual communion' represented by wine: "on the one hand with nature and the soil, through the mystery of plant growth and the miracle of fermentation, and on the other with man, who wanted wine and who was able to make it by means of knowledge, hard work, patience, care and love. 'Somewhereness' is given its meaning by 'someoneness' in our time, by the terroirists who are working hard to discover and capture in a bottle the difference that place can make.

For some interesting parallels and tangents, take a look also at Tim Teichgraeber's article about wine consultants in the SF Chronicle. And for a more lighthearted read, try Eric Asimov and his 80 (gin) martinis. I hope they were using spit buckets...