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The Fourth Element of Greatness: Connectedness

By Karen MacNeil
February 5, 2016


As I’ve written in former blogs, I believe all great wines share nine fundamental characteristics.

I’ve addressed distinctiveness, precision and balance. This blog is about connectedness.

Connectedness is the sense you get from the wine’s aroma and flavor that it is the embodiment or voice of a particular place. Connectedness is, in a sense, the bond between a wine, and the land it was born in.

Like cultural identity, connectedness makes a thing different from other things… and therefore worthy of appreciation.

It was, for example, satisfying when, not so long ago, Frenchmen still wore berets. As small a thing as that was, it revealed the link between people and their culture.

So, if you were visiting Rome, you could probably stay in a Marriott. But you could also stay with an Italian grandmother in a small penzione. And for many of us, though the penzione might not be as convenient, it would feel better in so many ways.

Wine without connectedness to the ground from which it came, may be good in quality…But, like a chain hotel Rome, there is a limit to how deep your appreciation of it can be.

Connectedness, though HARD to describe, is easy to find. Try a Côte-Rôtie from the northern Rhône, with its savage peppery, gamey flavors… or a shimmeringly tart riesling from the Mosel region of Germany.

Neither of these wines could come from anywhere, other than the place it did.

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