Smith Haut Lafitte: The prestigious estate is famous for its rabbit, but it is also getting busy cleaning up the environment.
Prestigious wineries claim their uniqueness comes from their terroir – the location, composition, density, and orientation of the soil in which wise men decided to plant vines centuries ago.
In Bordeaux, the châteaux are all usually – rightfully – claiming that their terroir is unique; that it might have saved the day when the late April frost checked in on this 2017 vintage. But where is the uniqueness when you are trotting out the same lines as your table neighbor at a Union des Grands Crus tasting?
Of course, there are other ways to stand out of the crowd. Many Bordeaux great growths already surf the organic wave and use vine growing and winemaking techniques from pre-machinery ages. You now usually see horses around in en primeur season. The closer to nature the better, and biodynamic books are a great source of inspiration for pleasantly obscure vineyard practices. We might not understand why some techniques work, but if they are empirically proved to have a positive impact on the soil, the vine and eventually the wine, why not use them? And if it brings an extra touch of authenticity (like the velvety feeling of wearing an old-fashioned piece of clothing and calling it vintage), nourishing wine lovers' imaginations and enhancing their tasting experience, then everybody wins.
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