Does a wine have a “sense of place”?

Ama Dablam, Nepal

Ama Dablam, Nepal
A real sense of place?

I recently had a minor spat on Twitter about the utter pretentiousness of some professional wine writers who use outrageous phrases in relation to wine tasting. The one that really riled me up was “this wine definitely has a sense of place”! Now, you might say that I’m splitting hairs here, but is a wine sentient, does it have a sense of anything at all? Of course not, it’s ourselves the drinker who MAY have a sense of place triggered by a taste or a smell, just as music triggers memories.

Personally I don’t claim any great expertise in wine tasting, but in 50 years of slurping I CAN tell a Pinot Noir from a Cabernet Franc and a Chardonnay from a Chenin Blanc. I can also spot a Pinot Noir from Burgundy and a Chardonnay from Chablis usually, and if the wind is in the right direction I’ll separate a Pommard from a Volnay, two villages next to each other in Burgundy.

But, philosophically the greates sense of place in my own mind is related to WHERE I actually tasted the wine, this is important, think local drink local. So, a Furmint in Budapest, a Gewürztraminer in Ribeauville, a Nebbiolo in Rome, a Ribera del Duero in Madrid …. I think you get my point. So, I’ll shut up! Enjoy my photos of a few very different places where I’ve slurped my way towards a sense of place, but the wine itself has no idea where it is!

Wine tasting in a tapas bar, Madrid
Wine tasting next to vines, Meursault
Wine tasting in a hotel, Budapest
Turckheim wine tasting
Wine tasting with a winemaker, Alsace
Wine tasting in a cantina, Rome
Wine cellar tasting
Wine tasting in a winemaker’s cellar, Pommard
Wine tasting in an Art Deco restaurant, Cheltenham

7 thoughts on “Does a wine have a “sense of place”?

    1. I suppose it was me getting on my high horse again! I spent most of yesterday with real winemakers and they don’t talk like that at all!


    1. Hi,
      I’ll be writing every other week on wine. I am not the fabulous, prolific writer you are, unfortunately! I teach at a college and also have a private practice therapy practice, so I struggle to fit it all in. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated (smile).
      I’m a new but avid fan.
      Thank you,


      1. Just write about your experiences of buying wine, reading about wine, visiting places that make wine. Too many people just write about a single bottle of wine they have tasted with tasting notes and scores as if they were professional wine writers. Where do you live, any wineries near you? Or outstanding wine bars?

        Liked by 1 person

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