Lambic "Terroir?"

I'm sitting in the Drie Fontenein cafe pondering something that came up when I was at Cantillon yesterday. Just had the Oude Geuze here, and of course it's quite different than Cantillon's. (I'll tell you by the end of the post how different it is from Boon's, where I'm due in a half hour.) The thing is, these beers don't differ because of the recipes, but because of the bugs.

has a pronounced lemon rind quality, while Drie Fonteinen's blend (they stopped brewing in 2009 but hope to find a kettle and get back to it) is salty and boasts what I'd call an umami note. These differences come from theaction of the yeasts, who are their own craftsman.

So what do we call this? It's like terroir, but not exactly. (Jean agreed; he said, "It's not exactly like that--terroir Is in the ground, lambics are in the air," and then he gestured to the space around him.)

Shouldn't there be a name for this? Suggestions?
Jeff Alworth9 Comments