The Year in Food 2007

Not Literal Dirt, Right?

There are some things you just don’t do unless you want to cause trouble—like, for example, taking meat away from a hungry lion. Chef Daniel Patterson and food scientist Harold McGee did the oenological equivalent when they wrote “Talk Dirt to Me” for the New York Times last May. The duo debated the definition of the sacred wine word terroir, saying that it doesn’t mean a wine should taste like the rocks of the place where it was grown. To many who view terroir as an all-encompassing term describing the environmental circumstances in which a wine is grown (and not that wine grown in limestone should taste limestone-y), the article raised an issue of semantics. But a look at the Chowhound boards reveals just how tangled up some are over the use of the t-word. Whether you agree or not with Patterson and McGee’s take on the matter, their article is an entertaining read that got us all talking about myth versus reality when it comes to the sometimes elusive and daunting topic of wine. —Aïda Mollenkamp