It wasn’t until I was in my midthirties, some twenty odd years ago, that I had my first wine of terroir. It was the 1998 Peter Michael ‘La Carrière’ Chardonnay, a white wine unlike any I had had from California. It seemed to translate something beyond the paradigmatic flavors one normally associates with Chardonnay, something beyond the oak vessels in which it was raised, something beyond the hands that ushered it into the cellar. Even in appearance it was revelatory; it possessed a chartreuse hue. Aromatically, it was oceanic yet earthy. Between notes of brine and saline breezes, the fragrance of cracked rocks, of petrichor, supported scents of freshly cut apples and Meyer lemon curd. There was life to this wine, a certain energy that lent it a presence in the glass. It stood out to me and I took notice.
This wine became the portal through which I entered to learn about wines of place. A writer once defined terroir best and most succinctly as somewhere-ness.