Scientists in Oregon are challenging the notion that terroir can be detected in a wine.

As part of a study into vineyard soils, geologists meeting in Portland for this year’s Geological Society of America conference concluded that the French gout de terroir – translated literally as ’taste of the soil’ – probably isn’t caused by minerals found in the vineyard.

’If wine lovers are going to talk about a mineral taste in wine, they should acknowledge that we don’t at present know its cause”, geologist Alex Maltman told the conference.

Speaking to decanter.com, Maltman, whose research has focused on the influence of vineyard geology on wine, was bullish about the concept of terroir.

’I’m not saying that chemistry and geology have no effect on the wine. They may have effects that we don’t understand.’

Professor Scott Burns, a Geologist at Portland State University, concluded that wines may vary in levels of dissolved minerals, but that those variations aren’t related to the mineral levels in the vineyard soil.

Written by James Lawrence