Distinction of Place

by Staff Writer - K. Ash | June 14, 2012

Distinction of place is a term used to describe wines that display unique taste characteristics imparted by the area where the grapes were grown. The term distinction of place can be used when talking about any wine that shows a unique style tied to a specific region; the same effects found under the French term of terroir.

The effects of distinction of place vary based on a number of factors. Different soil types, climate conditions and grape varieties can have a dramatic impact on a wine's ability to reveal distinction of place. For example, wines produced from grapes grown in the Diamond Mountain AVA of Napa valley contain scents and tastes of dark chocolate. The presence of a dark chocolate characteristic is unique to the Diamond Mountain AVA; even though neighboring AVAs present vineyard sites with almost identical growing conditions. In another example, wines made from the Riesling grape variety will often impart mineral-like characteristics that vary based on the soil makeup of the originating vineyard. The term distinction of place can be considered synonymous with the descriptive nature of terroir. It is important to remember that terroir is also indicative of French winemaking principles under the Appellation d'Origine Controlee. As the concept of terroir is linked with the principles of the Appellation d'Origine Controlee, the term distinction of place may be used to describe the effects of terroir for areas that recognize winemaking principals that are different from the Appellation d'Origine Controlee.

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