Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

January 17, 2022

© Robert Herbst

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Down to earth

Why on earth would anyone want to drink an “earthy” wine? It’s a reasonable question, and for those just getting into wine, this likely begs the equally relevant follow-up query: is “earthy” good or bad for a wine?

The same could rightfully be asked of a number of other creative vinous adjectives, including barnyard, petrol, mineral, or cat’s pee (in our opinion the most head-scratching descriptor of all, that’s increasingly used to reference the captivating aromas of Sauvignon Blanc). How many of us can confidently call out the aroma of cat’s pee? And if so, is this something to divulge publicly?

Yes, wine at times seems to have a language all its own, with overzealous reviewers or enthusiasts stringing together an escalating cascade of colourful descriptors for a simple glass of red or white. Recent additions to the wine lexicon include multigrain bread, ferrous, and — to give fair shake to our other four-legged friend — the equally unfortunate, wet dog.

But getting back to earthy, we’ll defend its place as an instructive description, and indeed use the word regularly. For earthy captures that time-honoured inspiration for great wines from around the world: the desire to preserve a grape’s connection to the local soil and climate.

Of course, that’s not to say that earthy automatically equals good. An earthy wine can be just as unbalanced as any other bottle. But all-in-all it’s an apt adjective, one that hints at wine’s most engaging quality — its ability to embody a sense of place.

Loimer’s Grüner Veltliner is an earthy wine. The grape itself — typically called Grüner for short — is firmly rooted in the land of Austria, where it is the most widely planted cultivar. It’s an enjoyably complex white that shows aromas of tangy pomelo and white pepper, with a natural crispness and minerality that is backed by a beguiling richness and peaty earthiness. The review could go on, but six descriptors is more than enough to whet the palate. Besides, it’s more fun to go and simply try a glass, preferably paired with an equally earthy quinoa-based dish!

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.


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