Terroir as Opportunity and Potential..
Perhaps terroir is best explained as the opportunity for a site to express, through climate (big and little), weather, soil, aspect and light-handed* vineyard management, its potential^. And for the anti-flavor elites, terroiristes and non-interventionists, potential is limited to producing wine with vineyard management and winemaking methods that do not include overly manipulative* methods. Some of these methods include acidification, addition of tannins and artificial coloring, non-organic chemical additives in the vineyard and various forms of advanced technology in the winery which can include, but are not limited to reverse osmosis, must reduction, cryo-extraction and so on an so forth.
The resulting wines more than likely express a more accurate* representation of terroir through the potential of the vineyard, but they will also come with some rougher edges**. Are these wines necessarily better or worse than those produced through more manipulative processes? That is a matter of opinion, but wines made in a less overbearing fashion almost certainly express their terroir with a truer sense of enthusiasm than those that are born out of advanced* science.
*Admittedly, these are clearly loaded terms…
^Terroir as potential is not a new idea – it has been championed by many, including Randal Grahm whose wines I admire very much.
**Perhaps these edges, sometimes best expessed as funky, natural or un-clean, are essentially what differentiates wines of low and high science from each other.