Does Cool-Climate Terroir Matter?

Since I have titled my personal Blog after a style of wine, I felt it was my responsibility to share my passion and explain why this type of wine is worth searching out. Anyone who truly appreciates fine wine, loves to explore and stretch their palate, but does not explore cool-climate styles… is missing the grail… when it was right there in front of them the whole time.

Hot and sunny afternoons are great, but mornings and nights MUST be cool and foggy. Produces killer wines. Nice acidity and slightly lower alcohol with complex flavors. Absolutely top notch. Not every varietal can handle this kind of treatment. Forget Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel, but Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay and Riesling all truly benefit from this type of climate. Match that with a great vineyard site and you have world-class terroir. Put a professional winemaker in the mix and you will have the best wines in the world!

Some of the best Cool Climate vineyard sites in the world are in these areas: Burgundy, Alto-Adige, Mosel, Mendocino, Carneros, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Central Otago, etc.

Wine Travel

My wife and I have visited so many U.S. wineries over the last 20 years, we are well beyond keeping track. Trips to Italy have provided an overview of the producers there too. France is next on the Bucket List. There have been numerous beautiful vineyards, amazing architecture and wonderful people along the way. During Wine Travel, you meet some of the most interesting and passionate people, while having some of the most relaxing and romantic experiences. I would recommend wine country vacations to anyone.

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Facebook: Wine DOCG

Twitter Handle: @douglasjlevin

4 responses to “Does Cool-Climate Terroir Matter?

  1. Hello Doug, thank you for this post explaining cool-climate wines and your passion for them. Our trade show is an international cool-climate wine exhibition. You can check out our site if you’d like to learn more about the cool-climate wines of France, since you said it was on your to-explore list:)

    Two questions: do you think cool-climate wines are growing in popularity with Americans? And, if so, is climate change a factor influencing that taste trend?

    Elizabeth Meaney, VinoVision Paris


    • Elizabeth, thanks for reaching out. This was an old post, so I updated it a bit, due to your comments.
      My three favorite white wine areas in the world are the Loire, Burgundy and Champagne locations. This may sound crazy to you, but I believe white wine requires more wine making/growing experience than reds. It is much easier to hit you over the head (red), than produce delicate and nuanced wines (white).
      Answer to your first question: Reds no. Whites yes. I believe the American palate is unlikely to identify any wine that is not fruit-forward as preferred. As wine-food pairing is growing in popularity here, awareness of French white wines is growing.
      Answer to your second question: No. For now, California winemakers are finding methods to lessen the impact of climate change that are permitted here. As long as chemistry can address this issue, it will be several decades before Napa will need to replant with Southern Rhone varietals instead of Bordeaux (for example).


  2. Douglas, I enjoy your blog but to discuss cool-climate terrior and not mention the Columbia Vally strikes me as strange given that it is producing 6% of the wine made in America.and has perhaps the greatest varience of day-night tempertures ( about 40 degrees) than any other region.


    • Allen, you are 100% right. There are reasons though. WA has many quality producers, but they do not consistently match my palate. If this blog was my profession, rather than my passion, I would approach the issue in a more representative fashion. I write about domestic wines that capture that passion: Napa Cab Sauv and Merlot, Italian Barbaresco, Brunello & Super Tuscans, Sonoma Pinot Noir and Chard and Central Coast Syrah, GSM, Cab Franc and Pinot Noir. Willamette Valley makes great Pinot Noir, but I just don’t visit there often enough. I enjoy MANY French and Italian cool climate wines. Yakima Valley, WA produces my favorite domestic dry Riesling and Walla Walla Valley, WA some Syrah, but I think Cayuse may influence the pricing in the area too greatly (poor QPR). So, until the readers, or the industry comes knocking at my door requesting it, I will continue to write about the wines I drink and the areas I know. I respect your question and it is very valid.

      Liked by 1 person

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