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Steve Smith Craggy Range on Terroir

This show was published 24 August 2007


Steve Smith is a Master of Wine, viticulturist and managing director of Craggy Range, New Zealand. He defines terroir as a sense of 'somewhereness' reflecting the place and culture of the people in the wine. Soil, climate and culture create this 'somewhereness' according to Steve.

Craggy Bay vinify their wines in the Hawkes Bay winery all wines are from single vineyards in different regions of New Zealand from 37 degrees latitude in the North to 45 degrees in the South Island - 8 degrees difference from North to South. Gimblett Gravels in the North is as warm as Bordeaux down to Otago's cool climate equal to Champagne and the Mosel.

The most important thing about terroir is to match the variety to the climate and then to choose the right soil. Ideally soils that are free-draining. No matter where you are in the world there are always stones in soils and, in the new world, if there's not enough clay to hold onto the wine you can irrigate to make sure the vine has enough water to survive. In the new world you can irrigate, in the old world you can't.

Steve believes the soil influence the texture of the wine more than the flavours - it can be the PH, the types of acidity, the tannins, the phenolics that the soils influence the most. Heavier soils create fatter, richer wines while better draining, stonier soils create more austere wines.


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