Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Would you please explain what the term “climat” means. I see it used in describing French wines, more specifically French vineyards. I know it does not mean “climate.”
—Michael S., Westlake Village, Calif.
You can think of climat as a term used in Burgundy for a single-vineyard site. To understand the way climat is used, I think it helps to understand terroir first. Terroir is a French term that translates loosely into “sense of place,” suggesting how the intersection of climate, soil type and topography influence the way a wine turns out. Given that terroir refers to this concept, then climat refers to an actual site that is unique because of its geographic characteristics, or terroir.