I had some wine with Catalan sommelier Antonio Gianolo the other day. Gianolo is Houston's most outspoken apologist for the biodynamic winemaking movement, a group that brings astrology and New Age spirituality to grape growing. Gianolo was wearing a T-shirt with a quotation from Randall Grahm, the founder of Bonny Doon Vineyard and one of America's most progressive winemakers. The quote comes from a talk titled "The Phenomenology of Terroir" that Grahm gave in 2006. Here's the whole well-mixed metaphor:
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"To be an inspired wine taster, you must be capable of experiencing synesthesia. "Ça descend la gorge comme le bebé Jesu en culottes de velours," the French say. "It goes down the throat like the baby Jesus in velvet underwear." A great terroir wine you can visualize as possessing a center, a core; I sometimes visualize terroir wines as planetary systems, with the minerals exerting the gravitational pull of the sun..."
Here's what Grahm said in the same talk about getting in touch with your inner terroir:
"I now believe that while there are perhaps multiple routes to the discovery of terroir in one's vineyard - there is an extremely esoteric technique called cosmoculture, which involves stone menhirs and Ley lines - it is essentially a form of viticultural acupuncture, that is particularly intriguing to me -biodynamics is perhaps the most straightforward path to the enhanced expression of terroir in one's vineyard. Its express purpose is to wake up the vines to the energetic forces of the universe."
I'll drink to that.