Does soil truly influence the flavour of wine?

Hang around wine geeks for any length of time and you are sure to hear the word terroir mentioned, writes Jamie Goode.

As you may know, terroir is a French term that has no English equivalent, and it refers to the way that the environment of the vine, including the soils and climate, works together to alter the character of the grapes grown there in such a way that the final wine tastes different. It’s the notion of the sense of place that a wine can possess.

We’re all familiar and comfortable with the idea that wines made from grapes grown in warm places will taste different than those made from cool climates, but terroir goes further than this. Two vineyards side by side can represent quite different terroirs, and the wines they make can be different even if the same grape varieties are used and the winemaking is exactly the same.