Is terroir, twaddle?

Neil Pendock December 3, 2012 3

A wonderful letter to the editor of the Times Literary Supplement from Malcolm Gluck:

“An apple from Elgin in the Cape will taste different from the same grown in the Loire.  But a Sauvignon blanc from both places can, if the makers so desire, be indistinguishable.  Ergo, terroir in a finished wine is a fiction.  It is a ploy dreamed up by the French and maintained by producers, merchants and wine writers to serve the shallow ends of marketing and mystification.”

Quite a boost for Elgin, to be equated with the Loire in a Sauvignon blanc context, nonetheless.  Let’s hope the Sauvignon blanc Interest Group [SbIG] notice.


  1. dionysus December 4, 2012 at 9:09 am -

    Hi Neil

    I agree Terroir is crap. But then why write a book, Neil Pendock’s Winelands Guide 2013 and list wines, taste wines, according to Terroir?

    I quote: Platter accepts wines made from grapes grown in multiple appellations. In a quest to pin down regionality, an important component of terroir; Pendock does not.

    So I am confused, do you believe in Terroir, a concept clearly linked with your latest book, or don’t you?


  2. Neil Pendock December 4, 2012 at 9:40 am -


    I am asking the question. This answer is Malcolm’s opinion. Not mine.

  3. didier bardin December 5, 2012 at 11:23 am -

    Well you know grapes and cows have something in common: You make St Nectaire or Cantal cheeses in the Massif Central for instance with cows imported from Holland and you will see what type of cheese you produce.: Certainly not the original one.

    i believe that there are cepages or type of grapes which are more suitable than other in certain places
    i do not think that you will find Chablis Chardonnay type of wine in South Africa, and i do not think you will find it either in Cote de Beaune.

    Same goes for the Cabernet Franc in the Loire valley.

    Some wine makers unfortunately are trying to standardize the wine to have an international type of taste and this is a pity.

    Now is the wine from one place better than an other place.
    Well it is all about taste and education

    I am french.
    I love a lot of french wines and living in South Africa, i love a lot of South African wines too.

    one more thing: If top Champagne could have been made worldwide,then it would have known

    Best regards – Didier

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