In search of (Blue Clay) Gold
Like most flora that grows on our blue planet, vines need the fundamentals of geography, geology and climate to work in equilibrium to prosper. Or in layman’s terms; location, soil, water and sunshine working together. And it is the delicate balance of these fundamentals that are so important to creating good wine AND the wines Terroir. Let’s look at each fundamental separately and explore interesting components of each of them.
In the wine world, there are many types of soils, good soils and a few treasured soils, such as; the limestone clay of Burgundy, the rock & sandy of Mendoza and the galestro of Chianti. But there is only one soil that is revered, the glacial Blue Clay soils of Pomerol and more specifically of Château Pétrus, the worlds most desirable and expensive wine (at this point, all those among you who are patrons of Burgundy wines will cry foul and wave a bottle of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti at me. If you did, I would open it, decant it and help you drink it!).
Now, these Blue Clay soils were created many millennium ago by a wandering glacier. As this glacier was making its majestic, unhurried crawl in the Paleogene Period across this land (that would later become France), it melted and deposited a whole heap of goodness (nutrients and sediment) on only 800 hectares of land, in what in the modern day Quaternary Period is now call Pomerol. Interestingly, this glacier passed over parcels of land that would later form parts of Château Méaume and it also appears to have “shed” small portions of those blessed nutrients along its travels. Because we have a portion of our vines growing on this Blue Clay “Gold”. Now, it does not suddenly mean that we will be rubbing shoulders with the most hallowed vineyards because as I mentioned earlier, soil is but a portion of the pre-requisite fundamentals, however it does mean we have an excellent foundation to start with (in corporate layman’s terms; when creating a PowerPoint presentation on accelerated depreciation, start with a good foundation of a double-declining balance).
So, what to do with these enchanting and almost mythical soils? That will for another story.