Many of our readers here at Octavian Vaults come to our blog to learn about wine, the way it is made and of course, the very best fine wines they should be drinking and investing in. This educational aspect is something we have to come to really enjoy and as such, we have been bringing you all you need to know about everyone’s favourite beverage for some time now.
In today’s instalment of the Octavian blog, we look to discuss one of the key wine quality factors, that of soil. The soil wine is produced from is actually far more significant than many think and although it isn’t the single most important thing we think you should be looking out for, it can influence wine quality significantly. So read on to find out just how this fascinating aspect of fine wine production works.
This is really the crucial question as fine wine is one of those topics that has all sorts of urban myths surrounding it. Wine experts seem to be everywhere but sadly not all are as reliable as the aficionados we have at your disposal here at Octavian Vaults.
So with no further ado, here is our take on this very important matter.
When it comes to the quality of a wine, there is quite a simple test that at least sets you upon the correct path. The best wines have a solid intensity and this is created through the amount of water and therefore nutrients a vine is exposed to during its development.
Wines that aren’t exposed to this tend to be thin and bland and therefore cheap, due to the fact that they just aren’t subject to the benefits of this when in their crucial developmental stages. These are known as phenolic compounds are key to the production of a truly premium quality wine.
If all of that jargon has you a little bewildered, then think about it this way. In Bordeaux, where it is widely regarded that the very best red wines in the world are produced, irrigation is strictly prohibited. This means that no minerals or nutrients are sucked from the soil that the vines are planted in when making what will go on to be world famous wines.
So, great vintages and top quality wines are based upon the deficit of water at ripening, rather than the climate – which essentially suggests that the environment in terms of soil quality could well be more important that the climate as some are inclined to think. This is according to a study done on this very subject at the University of Bordeaux.
Again, in its simplest terms this is suggesting that the quality of the soil could have a more substantial impact on a wine than sunshine, within reason.
New World regions such as Napa in California will disagree with this, as they are highly irrigated areas but probably have more sunshine than France. This could well come down to taste, as some prefer a Zinfandel to a Bordeaux; but fine wine enthusiasts are probably more inclined to opt for the latter over the former.
What all of this means, is that the nutrients that you find within soil are crucial to the health of a vine. Much like growing any kind of crop or plant in your garden, the end product is only going to be as good as the environment it has grown in and this is no different when it comes to wine grapes.
It could even be said this is more important as these grapes are of course what will be used to create our all-important wines. Vines need what are called macro and micro nutrients and these are far more likely to be present in high quality soil that hasn’t been irrigated.
Indeed, the soils of South France have been unirrigated and therefore of the very highest quality for centuries, so it comes as no surprise that they are still producing wines that are sought after across the globe year after year.
If that hasn’t frazzled your brain too much and you are still keen to learn about wine quality factors then it may be worth researching aspects such as sunlight, temperature, climate and canopies; but this is definitely one of the reasons that certain parts of the world have garnered such an excellent reputation for creating stellar wines.
We hope this has shed some light onto a fascinating topic for you. Be sure to peruse the rest of the Octavian Vaults blog as we have all sorts of guides available from the investment to storage.