The vine must suffer, or features of Transcarpathian terroir
Grapes is a special plant. The ancient Romans once said that civilization reaches the place where grapes are grown and wine is made. The terroir of Transcarpathia is special, grapes have been cultivated here for about two thousand years. Let’s find out what is so remarkable about our terroir, and let`s discover romantic and even dramatic concept: the suffering of the vine. Yes, that’s what growers and winemakers say!⠀
The term “terroir” (territory, from the French terre – «land») was introduced by well-known French winemakers, means a set of natural conditions of a particular geographical area that affect the properties of agricultural products, meaning for us, of course, grapes.
Terroir is a geographical location (hills or plains), climate, soils, rainfall, flora and fauna of the area… Terroir also includes even historical and cultural features of a particular region.
There are so-called macro- and micro-terroirs: for example, the whole Transcarpathia and the local area of Mala Gora, where plantations of Chateau Chizay located and which are called the most beautiful vineyards in Ukraine.
And in a nutshell, terroir is what, together with the skills of people, helps to create a wine that has its own character.
Terroir of Transcarpathia is considered the best for creating fragrant white, mostly dry wines, we have Chersegi, Muskotály, Traminer, Furmint… But the climate is changing, the vines are growing, and we also introduce dessert (“Rose of the Carpathians“) and interesting red (Pinot Noir, Cabernet, Merlot, Blaufrankisch, etc.).
… We do not know for sure who first formulated this philosophy (one of the French winemakers, or the grandfather of one of our hereditary growers?), But we agree: the vine must suffer!
You ask: what is the suffering of grapes and why is it necessary? We will tell you!
A grape bush should not be given “preferential conditions”, planted in rich soils, chornozem and watered abundantly. The vine will relax, will not build a large root system and will give a mediocre result.
But in order for the grape bush to produce something interesting, which will then become a special wine – and this is what we strive for in Chateau Chizay – it takes “suffering of the vine.”
Vineyards are planted on slopes, hills, in stony soils.
Vine is a liana-like plant, without pruning, one bush can take a half of hectare in two or three years. Grapes have very strong roots, which can reach 15-20, and even up to 40 meters, the rock for the vine is not a problem, it will find cracks, because it will look for water.
The pattern is as follows: the more complex the soil, the deeper the roots. And the deeper they reache, the more valuable trace elements and other substances the vine takes from the ground.
Let’s look at a grape seed: is it easy to bite it? In the genes of this plant there is a strategy to fight for life. And the vine lives in difficult conditions, reaching for water and nutrients to give everything useful, all the best to the berries.
And vice versa: if you water the grapes artificially, it will take food only from the surface layers and will not go to the most valuable. As a result, the wine will not be rich or interesting.
And here we come to the answer to such an important question: why is the terroir of Transcarpathia wonderful?
It allows not to use artificial watering. Of course, there are periods when there is enough moisture, however when there is not enough water for a long period, the vine suffers and gets better.
We also have significant daily temperature differences, which has a positive effect on the taste complex of wine.
And, of course, the soils of our hills! If you walk through the vineyards of Chateau Chizay on Mala Gora, you will see the outcrops of volcanic rock, tuff, which means: underground we have a rock and vine has a lot of work to do!
But you can’t tell by the appearance of the Chateau Chizay vineyards that the “vine is suffering,” can you?
We invite you to enjoy the scenery of the most beautiful vineyards in Ukraine. And, of course, to enjoy the wine born in the terroir of Transcarpathia! By the way, our white dry wine Chersegi is considered a model of “terroir wine”, because it is unique for Ukraine and tells the story about our region.