At a wine tasting party in April I told my client's guests that to me, there's nothing better than a wine with a killer barnyard nose. "Manuer," they asked skeptically? "That's it," I replied happily! The French are just so darn good at getting the terroir (read: earth, climate et. al. from whence the grapes were grown) into the wine. I'm not saying the wines I love taste like manuer. Of course, not! For me the kiss of French terroir means that wine is part of a uniquely local, mini-ecosystem and critical wine-making process that makes the wine unique. As I'm sure you've noticed, I find this all fascinating to study. Limestone, clay, stones, sand.... As soon as I did, my wine appreciation and pleasure sky-rocketed because I had a broader context to reference (e.g. France, the winemaking history/tradition, the types of soil, the culture, the food...).
While the concept of terroir is not limited to France, it sure has gotten a reputation there and elsewhere in Europe. Here in the US it may be too soon to tell how much the flavors of the earth are getting into the wines. These things can take a few years as the newer vines mature and produce more concentrated fruit. American vines are but wee toddlers in comparison to older vines of Europe!
I think the great debate that sometimes pops up around whether or not there is truth to the impact of terroir on a wine is a bit cr*p. (I can't help but wonder if we Americans are just too marketing/sales-oriented and stodgy to appreciate someone else's fine work - not to mention centuries perfecting it!) Each wine making region, wine maker, the vineyards and those who work them play an important role in producing a wine. Isn't it just refreshing to think that each of those fingerprints leave their marks?
What are your sediments (no pun intended)? Are you a believer in the impact of terroir?