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    Root structures on the vine. With any given vine the root structure is touted by the wine maker as the giver of Terroir.

    Terroir is a French word derived from the word terre ‘land’ and is used to describe the effect the ecosystem of an area has on the grapes and eventually the wine produced in a specific region. By ecosystem I mean nearly everything in the vineyard that affects change on the grape. It’s generally a combination of the land and atmosphere and everything that entails.

    In Marlborough, NZ the higher levels of UV light and thiols (‘mercaptans’ a sulfur containing compound) are told to impart jalapeño or Ortega chili on the nose and the palate of Sauvignon Blanc grown in that region. This variation is predominantly found only in Marlborough and is the essence of what the definition of Terroir is meant to encompass.  The UV levels are close to 40 percent higher than in the equivalent latitude of the Northern Hemisphere and grapes damaged pre-harvest exhibited an increase in the specific aroma due to thiols affecting a greater influence on the wine.

    In Sancerre, France the grape varietal used is Sauvignon Blanc the same as Marlborough, but as opposed to unctuous green pepper the wines created in Sancerre are fresh mineral driven due to their soils of flint and chalk.

    Terroir enables one to identify where the grape was grown based solely on smelling, seeing, and tasting the wine.

    That said, the dynamic the earth or soil brings to the wine is derived from the extraction of water, nutrients, and minerals that the roots pull from it.

    In areas where the rainfall is really low and the vines are starved for water, the roots dig deep hoping for water. This is what a wine maker generally wants to achieve because the roots come in contact with more rocks, soil and minerals giving the wine newer more evolved characteristics thus making it more complex.

    If a vine is given all that it requires in the area of water and nutrients, there is a lack of drive for the roots to delve deep. The resultant wine in turn won’t reach those levels of complexity or strong identity of Terroir. The same holds true for newer vines that have yet to get an established root structure.

     

    Some regions have such a strong representation of Terroir that one who’s studied extensively can identify its wines with great ease. The easiest for me are California Pinot Noir, Northern Italian (Langhe, Piemonte) Nebbiolo, and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

     

     

    …and now back to Jeff who when we last left him was being accosted by Bobby the bully…

     

    Jeff wanted nothing more than to leave without saying a word, but that would have made matters intolerably worse so he responded, “but this is my locker.”

    Bobby pinched Jeff’s arm causing him to jerk it away from him.  “This is my locker.”  Bobby said as he pointed to his own locker, “and this one..” Bobby moved his finger so that it was pointing at Jeff’s locker.  “..is touching my locker.  Which makes it my locker too.”

    Jeff knew there was no point in arguing with his idiotic way of thinking, so he just nodded in agreement.

    “That means get away from my locker idiot!”  Bobby yelled as he pushed Jeff to the floor.

    Jeff got up brushed himself off and walked past Bobby who had moved on to other things, namely carving his initials into the front of Jeff’s locker.  Jeff wished he was bigger or stronger or shoot he’d be happy with just quicker so he could avoid Bobby, but he was afraid he was stuck with being bullied, at least for now.  Jeff opened the door to the computer class and saw that he was the last one there as usual.  He went straight to his desk, but tripped over someone’s bag that was sitting in the aisle, drawing the teacher’s attention away from the note board.  The school had just this semester installed those new dry erase marker boards in all of the classrooms except for workshop because the workshop teacher Mr. Handley insisted that it was a waste of money and that he liked using the chalkboard anyway.  The school board thought about installing it in his classroom anyway, but realized they could pretend that they made the purchase and use the money to buy an espresso machine instead thereby instilling a sense of pride in Mr. Handley for his wise spendthrift behavior and getting their morning latté at the same time.

    “Ah, Jeff.  How nice of you to join us.”  Mr. Franzmer said with a clichéd sarcasm and then returned to writing the class assignment.

    Jeff didn’t understand why he was being singled out as if he was late when the bell hadn’t even rung yet.  He was certain the teachers met together after classes were over to plot about ways to make his life difficult.  “Mr. Brobeck,” he could see Mr. Franzmer saying in their secret meeting.  “Don’t you think we should make Jeff suffer?”

    He wondered for a moment whether Miss Stine was a part of the collusion, playing kind of a good cop bad cop role.  She would assuage his fears only to have them brought back with a horrifying swiftness by the other teachers, as if she was merely there to make the pain all the more excruciating because he would then have a sense of heaven to base his hell upon.  The thought lingered for a moment but then soon left his mind.  Even if she was there for that reason he was still able to hold on to the little gift of momentary bliss that she bestowed upon him.  Which was enough to get him through the difficult classes, and that couldn’t be what the masterminds behind this teacher gestapo had in store for him.  They wanted his complete and utter surrender.  Something that he wasn’t about to give them, but at this moment when he sat at his computer and saw that it seemed to be broken once again.  He felt the tinge of defeat, he was so certain they longed for, come dangerously close to the surface.

    “Push Me”  The computer read with an arrow pointing towards the center of the screen.

    “ What now?”  Jeff thought as he looked at the glowing screen.  He tried tapping the keyboard, but to no avail.  He even attempted to reboot the computer, but the screen wouldn’t flinch from the two words that it kept displayed.  “Push Me”