A Strong Connection
Recently I drank a wine that upon smelling, my senses were overwhelmed by the strong connection of aroma to memory. I was at first amazed that such a simple thing, a scent, had an immediate link to a specific place and time in my life; then I realized that this has happened time and time again, not only with this particular grape variety associated with a specific place, but numerous times with numerous wines linked to numerous memories.
In this instance the wine was a 2010 Pinot Noir from the Eola-Amity Hills in the Willamette Valley. A few years ago I traveled to the region, and again and again, when I drink (certain) wines from the area, typically Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, I can close my eyes and it’s as if I’ve been transported there just upon a whiff… I can see the beautiful background of the Cascade Mountains with its plush green valley floor planted to vineyards, gardens, shrubs and trees; smell the perfume of the Pacific breeze filled with a bouquet of mountain fruit and flowers, underbrush and unique volcanic and sedimentary soils; and remember fine details of my time spent in the Valley- of faces, meals and wines, and riding on a bus looking at the beautiful countryside.
This is why terroir (the combined effects of the area where the grapes are grown including soil, climate, altitude, etc.) is such an important concept as related to wine- wines do indeed (or rather they can or perhaps they should) tell a story, or as a favorite importer of mine would say “reveal their characters slurp by slurp as they speak of their origins.” This strong connection of terroir to a particular wine, and the smell and taste of a particular wine to memory, is directly tied to why I love what I do- although I spend many hours in a shop in Tuscaloosa, I am certain that while drinking wine of terroir and distinction, I can close my eyes and instantly get away!