Glaciers and Grand Crus

Last night we joined other members of Circolo Italiano for a lecture from a Smith
College geologist. The topic was wine and geology, and Prof. Larry Meinert showed slides that convinced me that how good the wine is directly corresponds with what’s below the ground.

During the Ice Age, a gigantic lake was formed in what is now Montana. It was bigger, Larry said, than all of the Great Lakes combined. When this massive lake drained, it formed 200′ ripples and dragged millions of tons of rock across thousands of miles, forming huge canyons that are still visible today. Grand Coulee was one of them.

When you view a series of vineyards, the winemakers clearly delineate where the best wines grow, and this corresponds directly with the ground: Where the cobblestones pebbles and rocky materials are is where the grand crus are. The winemakers who made these borders between the $500, $250, and $100 wines a thousand years back didn’t realize that geology was what separated the best wines from the vin ordinaire.