A Taste of Terroir-Driven Tempranillo
By Sergio Cuadra, Director of Winemaking
Terroir is an elusive wine term, a French word that encapsulates more than a single definition. Without fail, it is usually sprinkled into every professional wine conversation and tasting. Despite the abstract nature of its meaning, many people agree that it describes the effect of soil, climate, aspect (which is a term for the geographical positioning of the vineyards), and the human factor on grapevines, thus the wines.
Winemakers and viticulturists in the Lone Star State are still discovering the effect Texas terroir has on its wines, something that is still not entirely understood. Luckily, we have such a great team at Fall Creek Vineyards that has dedicated itself to minutely analyzing each of our vineyard sites and their magical properties for four decades.
Take Salt Lick Vineyards, for example, home of the grapes that we use for our top tier wines, including our Terroir Reflections series and ExTerra wines. I am particularly fond of this site. So scarce are the number of really, really good sites that make high quality wines, and this is one of them. But what makes it such a top-tier vineyard?
In the case of the Salt Like Vineyards, it is the soil, clay subsoils over limestone bedrock. The clay is useful when it comes to retaining moisture, a necessity in this heat. Also, as the roots of the vines dig deeper, they eventually touch limestone, one of the most coveted soils types in the wine world because it allows the grapes to retain their acidity.
I am also absolutely convinced that the high temperatures in the Texas summer are not harmful and actually have a positive result on the quality of the harvest. Grape vines are accustomed to thriving in temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and highly adaptable to a wide variety of climates. Afterall, grapevines are originally from the Middle East, in what is modern-day Iran where the heat is similar to Texas. These vines have dormant protective proteins that allow them to thrive under the scorching Texas sun and still produce noteworthy grapes.
Finally, less is more when it comes to winemaking. It’s nice to not have to do much to the grape juice after harvest to create a high quality. That’s when you know you’re in the right spot.
We invite you to taste our newest vintage of Terroir Reflection Tempranillo this month, a newly released wine gushing with aromas and flavors of ripe black cherry and plum, smoked cedar, new saddle leather and sweet toast. Despite the ripe quality of the fruit, this wine has managed to retain its structured acidity and vibrancy, a testament to its terroir and careful handling.
You can purchase a bottle here: https://fcv.com/product/fall-creek-vineyards-terroir-reflection-series-tempranillo-slv_thc-2017