A wine that tastes of “gout de terroir” usually tastes earthy.

Answer: False.

I love the French term gout de terroir, but like so many French expressions, it exits some place halfway between the literal and the romantic. Gout de terroir (literally taste of the terroir) is the distinctive flavor a wine acquires from the combination of a given grape variety grown in a specific place. Over time, for example, winemakers notice that a certain variety (say, cabernet sauvignon), from a certain plot of ground always has the same discernable flavors--pepperyness, blueberryness, or whatever. That’s gout de terroir. So for some wines the gout de terroir may indeed be earthy; but not for others.

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