On the impact of rootstocks, clones and other stuffs on expressing 'Terroir'
6+1 questions (left open for the readers... feel free to comment, please):
- Due to Phylloxera, nowadays the majority of vines are planted on rootstocks instead of being on Pie Franco. Pie Franco gives usually lower yields, therefore more concentrated wines, perceived as of higher quality. Of course you can manually limit yields also on vines planted on rootstocks. Is there any particular recognisable feature that Pie Franco gives to the wine (with respect to rootstock-based wines)? Does it helps to bring out Terroir?
- On the market there are lots of different rootstocks (selected for coping with different climates, soils compositions etc.). What's the impact (if any) of the rootstock choice on expressing the particular features of a particular terroir? Does a Chablis remain a Chablis regardless the rootstocks adopted?
- For each single grape there are several clones (selected for resistance to diseases, yield, etc.). What's the impact (if any) of clone selection in expressing the particular features of a particular terroir? Does a Le Chambertin remain a Le Chambertin, regardless of the clone? (Well this example it's maybe a bit tricky as pinot noir has very high tendency to clone mutations -- so probably this already answers the question? Really don't know).
- Viruses attack vineyards and can be devastating or just lowering yields. This is why clonal selection aims to provide "disease-free" material. However, many producers state that "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger"...in other words some viruses can yes reducing yield but this results in deeper and more complex wines. For some producers, viruses may help to express better the Terroir. How much this is true accordingly to your experience?
- Regarding the expression of Terroir, the performance (quality not quantity) of the vineyard and the preservation of Biodiversity: is it better propagating vines by massal selection or by clonal selection? The answer for the strong believer of Terroir concept is usually the former: Massal selection. What is your opinion or your personal experience?
- Are local yeasts and bacteria to make "Terroir"? This was suggested by Nicholas Bokulich studies at UC-Davis (here)
- Finally, does 'Terroir' exist or it's just a marketing chimera (a pedigree or blazon necessary to address the right percentage of deep-pocketed winelovers)?