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Drinking Out Loud

It's All Just Myths, You See

No data, no good
Photo by: Jon Moe
When scientists assert there's no evidence of terroir, Matt Kramer says the proof is on the palate.

Matt Kramer
Posted: April 19, 2016

Comes now yet another book-length agony letter from the wine science establishment declaring how we in the popular press know nothing about wine, and furthermore, how you (and me) in the wine-drinking public don't know a damned thing either.

This is nothing new. Starting in the 1960s and accelerating in the 1970s and '80s, wine scientists in California, Australia and Germany regularly inveighed, in interviews, articles and books, about how they, scientists with data, knew what really happened in winemaking and grapegrowing. What they didn't or don't agree with or like was and is invariably dismissed as "mystical," "magical," "folkloric" or "myth."

Mark Matthews, a professor of viticulture at the University of California at Davis, is the latest in a long line of such wine scientists and makes clear his perspective from the titular get-go with his Terroir and Other Myths of Winegrowing (University of California Press, 2015).

Wine scientists, we're told by professor Matthews, have data. Data! Facts. Scientific verities. They are the real truths, ones with numbers, not the phony hand-me-down poetry put forth by the Frenchies and their credulous followers, the better to flog (and fog) their wines at high prices to an equally credulous, ill-informed, mysticism-loving wine-drinking public.

In 221 pages, professor Matthews (no relation to Wine Spectator executive editor Thomas Matthews) puts forth that the Augean stable of myths must be cleansed with Herculean ferocity. "The troubling evidence that runs counter to the myths of winegrowing does not appear in the popular press, where there is essentially no reference to the existing viticultural literature and exceedingly limited engagement with its authors," he declares. Pay attention to us!

Professor Matthews examines the myths, as he sees them, of how low yields are conventionally thought to be better than high yields; about the concept of "vine balance"; about so-called critical ripening and vine stress; and above all, about the sheer fatuity of the concept of terroir.

All of these are not just myths, they are (and I quote) … bullshit. "When I told the winemaker at one of Napa Valley's leading midsize wineries," writes professor Matthews, "that I was working on a book that dealt with bullshit in winegrowing, he responded with a chuckle and asked, 'How are you going to know when to stop?'"

Actually, professor Matthews does not know when to stop and, even more important, why he should. The problem, from this writer's perspective, is not that conventional thinking in grapegrowing (the professor’s academic specialty) shouldn't be questioned or challenged. Rather, it's a larger matter of wine scientists' abiding belief—dare one call it faith?—in the ostensible truth of data alone. There's a word for this particular perspective: It's called "scientism."

Allow me to digress briefly, as "scientism" is very much at the root of why so many wine scientists have been so wrong about so many features (and achievements) of fine wine—as opposed to bulk or ordinary wine.

This business of fine wine is a vital distinction, as fine wine, unlike ordinary, is all about shadings and nuances, a word wine scientists abhor as having no metric or verifiable basis. (Professor Matthews, for his part, always places the word "finesse" in quotes to underscore the scientific dubiousness of the term.) Ordinary or bulk wine is simpler and, indeed, more available to credible measurement from which one can reasonably extrapolate.

So what is scientism? It's best explained in the recent book Scientism: The New Orthodoxy, edited by Richard Williams and Daniel Robinson (Bloomsbury, 2015). This is no crank tract, given its illustrious contributors, such as Lawrence Principe who holds two doctorates, one in organic chemistry from Indiana University and another in the history of science from Johns Hopkins University. The other eight contributors, including the well-known philosopher Roger Scruton, hold comparable scholarly credentials.

Scientism: The New Orthodoxy notes emphatically, "It must be made clear at the outset … that to express a concern about, or to criticize over-reliance or overconfidence in science is not to oppose science or to diminish its accomplishments."

Scientism, the authors note, involves a "zealous metaphysical commitment and a requisite orthodoxy in method and in thought regarding the nature of the world and how understanding of the world is to be approached."

Their definition of the term embraces four tenets, two of which are pertinent to the present discussion. The first is: "It is a tenet of scientism that only certifiably scientific knowledge counts as real knowledge. All else is mere opinion or nonsense."

"A second tenet … is that the methods and assumptions underlying the natural sciences are appropriate for all sciences. … A corollary doctrine is that the arts, if they seek to be more than myth and self-expression, must somehow be brought under the umbrella of science."

The four-part definition notes, "Scientism exudes and promotes an exaggerated confidence in science … to produce knowledge and solve the problems of humanity."

With this in mind, it brings into focus the fault line of professor Matthews' assertions about, as he titles his book, terroir and other myths of winegrowing. Are his assertions necessarily wrong-headed? Hardly. Some of them are both fascinating and surely worth pondering, especially those in his specialty of grapegrowing. What's more, the illuminations in that field have hardly been ignored in the past or present, even if they haven't necessarily been widely embraced either, which clearly irks the author.

For example, agronomists and viticulturists have been insisting for decades that low yields do not, in the scientific data, correspond to demonstrably higher quality. And within the confines of what such data can establish, such as sugar content, acidity, color, pH and the like, it's true. The numbers from such experimental tests prove it. This is not news and plenty of winemakers and viticulturists already know it.

Viticulturists such as Richard Smart, who holds two doctorates in the field of grapegrowing and is the author of Sunlight into Wine (1991), have campaigned for decades about changing grape canopies to create higher yields with no loss of measurable grape or wine quality.

So why, to the evident frustration of professor Matthews, has the wine establishment not embraced what to him are proven truths?

The answer involves not a gullibility for myths, as professor Matthews repeatedly insists, but rather what might be called the more finely detailed demands of the fine-wine ambition. Here the data frequently fail to prove to the satisfaction of many practitioners the truths proclaimed as proven and universal. I wish I had a dollar for every winemaker and grapegrower I've met in Napa, Sonoma and elsewhere in the world of fine wine who have told me that they had to unlearn everything they were taught by their wine science professors in order to gain traction in their fine-wine ambition.

Too often the nuances sought for fine wine are not necessarily captured by the "facts" established in one or another often-narrow scientific experiment.

Sometimes the narrowly rational and scientifically provable has to give way to the seemingly irrational or to beliefs not easily proved by conventional scientific methods. How else can you explain why so many otherwise rational, educated and intelligent fine-wine producers have embraced low yields even though it means seriously reducing their income?

One of the features of professor Matthews' book—and virtually all of the others of its sort penned by his fellow academic wine scientists—is that it never reports actually tasting wines, let alone trying to correlate tasting experience with academic knowledge. Nowhere in Terroir and Other Myths of Winegrowing does the author refer to a tasting experience. Such a thing is too subjective and thus inherently suspect.

Knowing this helps explain astonishing statements such as: "It is generally true that grapevines do well in calcareous soils, but it is probably more clear empirically that chalk deposits are good for holding oil reserves, than for flavors imparted to Chardonnay or other grapes."

Does that sound like someone who knows anything about fine wine? Does that sound like someone who has experienced—and accepted as real—the singular sensation of a great Chablis?

Such declarations pepper Terroir and Other Myths of Winegrowing, nowhere more so than in the chapter "The Terroir Explanation,” which is the epicenter of the book's provocative title. Professor Matthews reserves a special scorn for the concept of terroir, which scorn, I might note from my experience, is very nearly a prerequisite for employment in his academic world.

Having written at length about terroir over the decades, I was not surprised to see my work cited, although I have to say that the citations used are both brief and factual; I was hardly in the crosshairs, so to speak. So I have no axe to grind on that account.

Where I do feel free to sharpen such an instrument lies with a substantial difference of opinion about the legitimacy of the concept of terroir and of its essential reality. Simply put, professor Matthews dismisses the idea of terroir as a modern invention, and a cynical one at that.

Noting that the word once denoted an unpleasant taste (which historically was true, at least in the French phrase "goût de terroir"), professor Matthews notes the sharp increase and transformation of the word terroir as a consequence of new French appellation regulations in the mid-20th century: "All concerned capitalized on the value of having an attractive story that included the regional terroir explanation for distinctive wines.”

"The second situation that correlates in time with the dramatic uptick in the use of terroir," writes professor Matthews, "is the increase in international competition in the world of wine." The author then elaborates how difficult it has become for many tasters to distinguish between wines of similar types grown in various parts of the world, citing among other examples, the famous confusion between French and American Chardonnays and Cabernets by judges in the 1976 Judgment of Paris tasting.

At root lies a disdain for the influence of soil in wine distinction: "Unfortunately, the 'discovery' of terroir in the popular press was not preceded by scientific discoveries of soil-derived flavors, or other validations of putative characteristic flavors from a more broadly defined terroir."

Bottom line: There are no data proving that soil informs wine. Therefore it's a shuck. Terroir is a fake. Distinctions among wines are mere public relations for which the ambiguous word terroir is conveniently invoked. Terroir is a myth promulgated by romanticists such as wine writers and cynical marketing sorts seeking to distinguish their wines from those of the competition.

All I can say is this: Taste some wine. Is a good Chablis really the same as any other Chardonnay grown in a comparably cool climate, never mind whether the soil is chalk or clay or sand? Really?

Does Cabernet Sauvignon grown in Stags Leap District taste the same as that grown on Howell Mountain? Of course it doesn't. Anyone can taste the difference if presented with two well-made examples. Or 10 such examples for that matter. Of course there are reasons: climate, microclimate, elevation, sunlight intensity, wine, rain and yes, soil. Believers in the existence of terroir are the first to mention all of these and more.

Such differences are collectively called terroir. What's so hard to accept about that? What's so difficult in accepting such a notion as both real and legitimate?

Is terroir necessarily ambiguous? Sure it is. Everything about fine wine is ambiguous. That's what makes it so difficult to pinpoint precisely why La Tâche tastes different from neighboring Richebourg. No scientific evidence exists, to the best of my knowledge, that definitively identifies and proves the causes of the difference. Therefore, as wine scientists would have it, any differences we find are invalid as they're not verifiable. So we're seen as dupes. Myth lovers. Irrational fools.

But we're not. Those of us who credit the existence of terroir, of its legitimacy as a metaphor for understanding the natural world know that recognizing terroir is no more—and no less—than a way of being alert. We know that the differences we apprehend with our senses are real and far from illusory—or mythical. We know also that soil plays an informing role, in some sites more strongly and clearly than in others.

Scientism says that such conclusions are inadmissible. No data, no good. ("It is a tenet of scientism that only certifiably scientific knowledge counts as real knowledge. All else is mere opinion or nonsense.") Our collective and profound experience in apprehending and distinguishing such very real differences among fine wines is dismissed as, well … you know what.

It's all myths, you see. You do see that, don't you?

Morewine Bishar
Del Mar, California —  April 19, 2016 3:47pm ET
A fascinating and important post, Matt. Perhaps Professor Matthews should go on a tasting tour, say a Riesling tour through the Mosel, Nahe and Rhine regions. These wines are nearly all vinified without the influence of oak, the use of which can obscure vineyard character. At the end of his tour he could then ask himself the real question here, how else can we explain the vast range of genuine subtle nuances that vary from region to region, village to village, vineyard to vineyard. Riesling grown in Devonian Blue Slate does not taste at all like Riesling grown in Red Sandstone, Volcanic Ash or in Quartz-rich Porphyr. It's not PR, it's not folklore, it's not winemaking trickery, the differences are there for anyone with a working palate to taste.

Here we come to the central issue, does Pro. Matthews have a decent palate? I suspect not. I say this not to engage in an ad hominem attack on the person of the Professor, but can it be that he denies the existence of that which he lacks the proper equipment to perceive? There is a very great range of tasting acuity in human beings, some are "supertasters" more are "medium tasters" and some, sadly, are "under tasters". All of the metrics in the world wont help you taste that which you cannot taste, there are no "hearing aids" for wine lovers!

There are none so blind as those those who are actually blind, but does a blind man call the sighted "fools" for their claims of vision? Must we add "terroir denier" to the ever-growning list of the willfully ignorant in our world?

David Clark
for The Wine Connection
Rick Jones
Mesquite Texas USA —  April 19, 2016 4:10pm ET
Hey Matt, any body knows wine from vinyards space aliens have visited is better than those where Elvis ghost has been sighted. Of course anyone who has tasted wine fron the vineyard where bigfoot has peed on the vine knows for sure it's the best...wait..I didn't mean tasted....uh...I meant...uh...you know...sampled...uh...scientifically!
Matt Kramer
Portland, Oregon —  April 19, 2016 4:38pm ET
Mr. Clark: I very much doubt that the issue involved in recognizing what you or I might assert are examples of "terroir differences" is a function of tasting ability. Most folks actually can taste reasonably well, with each of us having particular deficiencies or thresholds for one or another flavor or scent element. But overall we're all more than good enough.

So-called supertasters, by the way, really aren't better tasters than others. Rather, they just are hypersensitive--to the point of sensations being painful--to certain stimuli such as spiciness or fattiness in food. They're no better at evaluative tasting than a highly light-sensitive person would be at being a film critic.

The problem, instead, is one of acknowledging the legitimacy of the senses. The academic wine establishment is almost fiercely opposed to this except under the most controlled and narrowly-defined conditions. It's too subjective to be "scientific" and is therefore unacceptable. That's the real problem.
Peter J Gatti
Austin, Texas, USA —  April 20, 2016 11:01am ET
Matt, I might consider challenging Professor Matthews to taste a horizontal of Ghislaine Barthod's 9 different 1er crus and then explain why the wines don't all taste the same.
Stefano Poggi
San Diego, CA, USA —  April 20, 2016 11:38am ET
Nebbiolo grown in Barolo v. Barbaresco v. Valtellina v. Valle de Guadalupe.
Morewine Bishar
Del Mar, California —  April 20, 2016 3:43pm ET
Matt,

"The problem, instead, is one of acknowledging the legitimacy of the senses." I get your point. The insane thing about not acknowledging the legitimacy of the senses is that wine can only be appreciated through the senses. Every single end-game consumer of this "product" will be analyzing it by using their personal wet ware. With wine, the evidence of the senses is the only meaningful measure. Sure, the metrics are very important in the production side, bravo for wine science, but all of that ultimately must be in service of the senses. Without a human being experiencing it, no wine has any flavor at all!

David Clark
Don Fuller
Canada —  April 21, 2016 3:15pm ET
Matt,

Great post.

I find all this talk of terrior that focuses only on site misses a lot of the point and is a misuse/misunderstanding of the term as I am sure the readers of these posts are well aware. Terrior also includes all the human elements that go into making the wine. Humans used to make wine in dirty cellars using under ripe grapes and pass it off the resulting swill as representing terrior. There is no sense of place (thank you for coining the phrase) without human intervention. Science helped clean up cellars and inform decisions about ripeness and when to pick. Now maybe some scientist are going too far in imposing the requirement of proof through measurement. I find this strange as science has shown that flavor components found in wine are also found in other foods. A finely balanced wine makes a great drink. A finely balanced scientific article can make boring reading. And in referring to balance I don't want to get into the alcohol level debate on which you have written on so well previously Matt.
Brian Kearney
Sonoma —  April 22, 2016 11:46am ET
As a wine consumer, a person who's day job is "Scientist" and hobby viticulturist and winemaker that has taken viticulture and enology classes (Not with Dr. Matthews) who has read the book, I feel qualified and also the need to weigh in. While Dr. Matthews is clearly passionate in his positions and the book can feel dogmatic and densely worded to make its point, the book does not say [sic] "all grapes of cultivar X taste the same, regardless where they are grown." As such, Mr. Kramer, and most people making comments, are missing the point. First (and let's ask those who think the word is flat to refrain from comment) the basic principle of science is that data are needed to support conclusions and that those making the conclusions have the responsibility to reach a level of evidence to make causative claims. As such, those espousing yield and terroir are those that have the burden of proof. So, this book is not "Scientism". The books simple point is that there is a dearth of controlled data for SO many claims with respect to sensory/organoleptic attributes of wine. In the end, I do not think people are open minded enough to reasonably challenge claims of yield and terroir, due in part to the fact that wine represents leisure and is a luxury item at the price point where terroir is debated. That said, as consumers, and we all are consumers of wine, I think its in our best interest to demand substance behind claims, particularity for something we ingest/consume and willingly spend extraordinarily high dollars/unit consumed. Ask yourself, if you would be as blissfully embracing claims similar to that used on wine labels of just about anything else you experience on a daily basis? The way your house is engineered/built, the brakes in your car, the (all other) food you eat, or the evidence that the medications you take have been tested, work and are safe? (BTW, all other things being equal, it's all about the weather, hence the "it was a good vs. a bad year" commentary for the same terroir).
Matt Kramer
Portland, Oregon —  April 22, 2016 1:50pm ET
Mr. Kearney: Thank you for your comments. For the record, lest someone reading these comments mistakenly think it so, nowhere in my column did I write "all grapes of cultivar X taste the same, regardless where they are grown." This is your assertion/summation--which you are surely most entitled to--not mine. To which you add: "As such, Mr. Kramer, and most people making comments, are missing the point."

I did ask: "Is a good Chablis really the same as any other Chardonnay grown in a comparably cool climate, never mind whether the soil is chalk or clay or sand? Really?" (That's the closest line in what I wrote that might align with your rhetorical summation about "all grapes of cultivar X taste the same, regardless where they are grown." )

More to your point: "The book's simple point is that there is a dearth of controlled data for SO many claims with respect to sensory/organoleptic attributes of wine."

Here we come to the business of scientism. Some of the "claims" involving fine wine are not easily, if at all, available to "controlled data". Scientism suggests that it is this very demand that, if not met, renders any such claims both invalid and inadmissible. As I quoted from "Scientism: The New Orthodoxy": "It is a tenet of scientism that only certifiably scientific knowledge counts as real knowledge. All else is mere opinion or nonsense."

"Controlled data" require metrics. An insistence upon such rejects absolutely (and resolutely) the legitimacy of the senses. Fine wine says otherwise.

Speaking personally, I have no problems whatever with the desire and pursuit of factual data wherever it can be obtained. Such investigation is fundamental to civilization itself.

There are, however, other forms of "evidence" than those available only through the scientific method. Every methodology has its limitations, even the scientific method, powerful and penetrating though it is. What's more, many studies still remain to be undertaken in order to provide the data so often declared to be essential.

"It ain't so that soil informs wine" is the scientific rallying cry--and one that professor Matthews unflinchingly asserts,if only because a verifiable mechanism cannot be found

To a degree, that's in part because the investigation is far from complete, a point professor Matthews himself acknowledges on page 181 of his book when he says, "Unfortunately, the roles of soil mineral nutrition in grape and wine quality are not well studied, although the necessary nutrients for productivity are well known."

The senses, however, say that somehow soil does inform wine, as millions of wine tasters over centuries would attest.

Just how soil informs wine is still unknown and assuredly has been tethered to a lot of irrational nonsense. This is where the scientific method comes in and it's indeed essential. Slowly, a number of small scientific studies do seem to be teasing out answers, although none are definitive and fully explanatory. (My colleague, Harvey Steiman, recently wrote about one such study in his blog titled "Molecules of Minerality" here: http://www.winespectator.com/blogs/show/id/52568).

The bottom line is this: Why deride and dismiss the senses merely because science, so far, can't prove or disprove something?

After all, when acupuncture first came to attention outside of Asia, Western medical science could find no dissective evidence of proof of the existence of Chinese acupuncture. Consequently, it was initially dismissed by Western doctors as folk medicine and magical thinking, a Chinese "placebo effect".

There were no data; our Western way of anatomizing the human body could not locate the "parallels" or "meridians" so elaborately mapped over centuries by Chinese practitioners. Yet acupuncture exists. And it works. The lesson is clear: There are other, legitimate, ways of "looking".

I absolutely agree with you when you say "It's in our best interest to demand substance behind claims, particularity for something we ingest/consume and willingly spend extraordinarily high dollars/unit consumed."

Might I add that it's also in everyone's best interest for scientists themselves to acknowledge that not everything can only be expressed--and be considered acceptable--solely in their "language"?
Brian Kearney
Sonoma —  April 22, 2016 4:08pm ET
I could go down the scientist rabbit hole and argue that wine = grapes = biology = chemistry = physics = math = truth, but the fact is, I agree with you that we can not and need not try to dissect wine to enjoy and appreciate their differences. Talking in absolutes is unproductive and rarely correct, lest we end up in a "Science vs. Faith" debate. The point of my post was to simply provide counterpoint to what one might consider a dismissive tone (based on the the title of, the picture, the scientism label) on the lack of really data yet claims by an industry on a (regulated) food label, that gets treated as gospel, drives prices and entire ancillary industries (ie, wine critics, sommeliers, journalism etc.). Regarding journalism, I think independence, investigation, and the infamous “fair and balanced” are critical, and that it should engage in civil and productive debate, lest it become a pawn of the marketing of the wines themselves.
Vince Liotta
Elmhurst, Il —  April 23, 2016 5:06pm ET
Well done, Mr. Kramer. Perhaps ironically, with Dr. Matthews' help, you've touched on all the basic issues. And not surprisingly, produced some inspired comments. Mr. Kearney with his "Science vs. Faith" or what I might refer to as body v. soul (Physical v spiritual) alludes to the dichotomy of human experience.

But softer sciences, such as Social Science which I briefly studied long ago and feebly recall, do rely on verifiable data which is collected and used to support theses. If many of us, through our experience, detect the same or similar qualities in wines which can be associated with vineyards of specific soil or topographic type, it seems to me that qualifies as collectible data which can be used to at least make if not prove a point.

Tom
Kevin Chaney
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA —  April 25, 2016 4:22pm ET
Bravo Matt! After a lifetime of learning wine, beginning, always beginning, in the vineyards............terrior exists. And, because of terrior, certain grapes perform better than others in those soils. I will refrain from the yields discussion, better left to another time!
Brian Cook
Scottsdale, AZ —  April 27, 2016 10:02pm ET
Prepare yourselves: This is the same argument that has gone on for years in the Audiophile community. Objectivism vs. Subjectivism. How can one pair of cables sound better than another? How can "high def" digital sound better than CD, when both recreate the same waveform? Oh, it gets UGLY in the forums. I pray that we remain more civilized in our discussions.

Ultimately, I side with the Subjectivists. Taste for yourself! Listen for yourself! There is more than what can be measured and tested!
Wimberly Miree
Birmingham, AL, USA —  April 29, 2016 10:58pm ET
This is an excellent article by Matt Kramer. It addresses yet another example of scientific arrogance. Scientific theories are just that: theories. Theories are based on the "then" current knowledge available at the time. To claim that a theory is infallible is to assume that the knowledge on the subject at hand is all that will ever be acquired for the rest of eternity... a somewhat arrogant position to take, since that assumption has been proved wrong repeatedly since the beginning of time. Vast numbers of original theories have eventually been proved wrong or had to be revised as more knowledge has been acquired. Even Einstein’s theory of relativity is undergoing revision as I type. Regardless, one would think that hundreds of years of consensus opinions by tens of thousands of wine tasters regarding the characteristics of specific vineyards would suggest to the scientists that perhaps they haven’t tested long enough to totally disclaim the possibility that the tasters might be right, even though they can’t “scientifically” prove it at the present time. Perhaps it wasn't "scientific" enough for them, but how much more fundamental can it get than actually physically tasting the results of the vineyard by thousands of tasters over hundreds of years and agreeing on their assessment?
Wilson Mctavish Zildjian
Castine, Maine —  May 3, 2016 5:34pm ET
Excellent article, Matt,
........and the word "scientism" grabbed my attention right away: It echoes food critic Michael Pollan's use of the word, "nutritionism", to describe an incomplete approach to nutrition, in which only the scientifically identifiable elements of foods are used to determine their value. A little knowledge becomes a dangerous thing as people rely on powders and supplements to complete their diets when actually the trace amounts of the bit-players in food are essential ingredients in making real nutrition work. It also spawns all kinds of junk foods that pass superficial data tests and make health claims for themselves by including a few vitamins.

Dr. Matthews could end this discussion once and for all by using his data and measurements to re-create a few good vintages of Romanée Conti in a laboratory. I would be first in line to buy any samples that he mixes up for us, provided his available numbers yielded an authentic result. Fact is, his data is not ready for prime-time, as he is likely measuring a minuscule fraction of the many thousands of compounds and trace ingredients that give a wine its character.

In the meantime, his book is regrettably in the very category that he ascribes to so-called myths of terroir: Bull.....

Salim Asrawi
Houston —  June 22, 2016 11:59pm ET
Can't science breakdown all the components and chemicals in wine and tell us exactly whats differnent about La Tache as oppossed to Opus One. I'm not sure but if its possible it seems to me that we could just put all these components or chemicals together in the right proportions and duplicate 1982 Haut Brion or any other wine whenever we wanted to.
Marcial Dorado
Portugal —  July 11, 2016 8:37pm ET
With all respects! and in defense of all the teachings that Nature offers´!! and those that understand Science! as a evolutionary open minded learning! instead of using the name of Science as a closed minded! method dictatorship!! with strict laws and rules as the only valid proof of any study, theory or experiment!!, I may just say! ...that I feel sorry for Mr.Mark Matthews!! and his credibility in what he believes!!
as well as for all those Scientists! that, like him, don't know ( or don't want to know because of money interests!), that the largest barrier to Science Evolution! are the Science empirical Laws! and static methology!!
you will never see! or Feel the energy of Nature/Universe!! until you surrender to the idea that you are all part of the same energy source!!
The only thing that makes any wine specially outstanding and enjoyable! is being made from what Nature provides! respect it! and try not to follow so many establish rules!! which only stop your evolution!!
Observe/contemplate with patience enough time and you will realize that there is an amazing world!! that will show you all that science can not show!!
Mr.Mark Matthews!!! you will never feel the amazing energy of terroir! combined with the passion and energy of the person that works the vines and makes the wine!!! ...and so understand your frustration!!
Sorry for what you miss!

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