Decanter recently reported on the ‘uneven’ nature of the 2014 wines from Bordeaux’s Right bank, compared to the relatively consistent fine wines of the Left bank, suggesting that soil type played a key role in the region’s fortunes.
The mainstay of fine wines worthy of investment hails from the Bordeaux region of France for good reason. The area’s geographical characteristics, geology and perfect climate are conducive to growing the grapes that go into the finest wines in the world. When buying a single bottle or a case, whether to drink or to store, a good understanding of the wine’s terroir will help you make the best choice.
Wine Production Rules
Terroir, which refers to the physical aspects of a certain region, sums up the local environment’s characteristics and how they effect production of a certain product. The terroir concept is based on the French wine’s “Appellation d’origine controlee” system, also known as AOC. The rules regulating wine production and distribution around the world use the French model as guide for appellation laws. Besides wine, terroir can also be important in coffee, chocolate and cheese, which are all influenced by the area where they are grown or produced.
Origin of the Grapes
Fortunately, you can find all of this information on the wine’s label. Some countries put more emphasis on the types of grapes going into the vintage, but in Old World wines, such as that coming from France, it is customary to print the location. Given the specific location, the savvy buyer knows the exact terroir properties imparted to the wine. Along with that knowledge, you can also have a pretty good idea as to what type of grapes were used. For instance, if the label indicates that the wine is from the right bank in Bordeaux, than Merlot grapes are used. If the wine is from the Left Bank, than it will be produced with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
It’s fine to take chances with wine you want to put on the table, but when selecting wine as an alternative investment, stick with the tried and true from Bordeaux.