No, not the majesty of roll. It’s the mystery of terroir in the northern
Such was the title of Dr. Scott Burns’ presentation the other night to the Geological Society of Oregon. More than 60 people filled a lecture hall at
Burns is a passionate speaker, not what you might expect in a geologist. He began by apologizing for his scratchy voice, worn out from a heavy dose of consultation and media requests in the wake of recent rain-triggered landslides. Then he launch into a high volume, fast-paced hour-long presentation covering everything from the origins of the
Burns is rare in bringing obviously extensive knowledge about geology together with great knowledge and clear passion for wine. Frankly, I expected a geologist who knew little, really, about wine, but Burns is one of the most articulate and, in my opinion, informed wine lovers out there. Generous too.
I was hoping he’d spend less time on background material and more on the rocks. This was a geology meeting after all, my first ever. But the audience was clearly beyond the typical rockhound, so I suppose Burns was smart to give context even if it was old news.
But once Burns started talking about the earth, wow. He provided great information I hope I convey at least mostly accurately. First of all, good news. The soils are old here, meaning low nutrient levels in general for grape growing. 96% of grapes in the region are on either very old, or just about very old soils.
The underlying geology of the northern
Local soils largely came from
The most common soil types in northern
Willakenzie soils are apparently being reclassified more specifically than before. But as we know them, they are marine sediments found in the
Demonstrating the different tastes of soil types, Burns closed by generously poured samples of two 2001 Chehalem Pinot Noir.
First the Stoller Vineyard, from the far west of the Dundee Hills on a lower hill exposed perfectly to the sun. Jory soils all the way. This wine smelled rich and alcoholic, with macerated cherries and a roasted quality. It was actually quite nice, wood-marked as both wines are, but soft and a little squishy.
I preferred the Ridgecrest Vineyard, with its wood spicy, light black currant aroma and brighter flavor. Willakenzie soils here,
So are all Geological Society meetings like this? The meeting ended, but there was a buffet after-party in the department office that looked interesting. Then I thought, don’t push your luck. So off into the rainy night.