Terroir essentially is a sense of place that is unmistakably evident in the wine. There are many factors in the vineyard that affect the quality of the wine; i.e. the general climate of a winegrowing region, the weather and the yearly variations in climate, soil, and topography, more specifically, the slope, aspect, exposure and elevation of hills. Many observers believe that these elements interact with each other and combine to create a unique environment that produces a unique wine.
While there are ways to grow grapes and make wine that limit the influence of terroir, it is undeniable that these elements play a significant role in defining the style and quality of a given wine. The concept of terroir developed over hundreds of years as it was noticed that certain plots consistently produced better wine than their immediate neighbors regardless of the conditions of a particular vintage. A track record of this length points to a concrete difference that cannot be explained by attributing it to one particularly talented grower or winemaker. Discovering the cause of these differences is much more difficult than noticing their effect.
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