Author: KS Loves Wine
I’m a certified wine geek, constantly discovering new facets in the joy of wine. And to think, it was under my nose this whole time!
Here are two very common questions when it comes to soils and wine:
- Question: Do great wines only grow on certain soils?
- Answer: Yes but it’s complicated. There are several factors including climate, elevation, type of grape and style of wine that effect which soil is best.
- Question: Do earthy flavors in wine come from the soil?
- Answer: No. Believe it or not, this assumption has never been proven!
Fortunately, we can understand wine a little better by paying attention to how wines behave on 4 primary soil types:
- Sandy Soils
- Clay Based Soils
- Silt Soils
- Loam Soils
1. Sandy Soils
Elegant wines with high aromatics, pale color and low tanninIntroduction to Soil Types and Wine
What are the best soils for growing wine grapes?
One of the most frequently mentioned traits of a great wine is the soil. The conversation usually sounds something like this:
“This estate is certainly well-located, resting on well-drained, gravelly soils with some veins of clay running through them.” –Chateau Charmail, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux
So, now that you’ve read the statement above, you might be wondering: “What the heck does that mean?“
Sandy soils are well-drained and retain heat. In warm climate regions, sandy soils make wines that are ‘softer’ with less color, lighter acidity and tannin. If you’ve ever had a wine from Swartland, South Africa and seen how pale the wines can be, this is part of the reason why. In cooler climate regions, sandy soils benefit vineyards by retaining heat and draining well to produce highly aromatic wines. A side benefit of sandy soils is their resistance to pests which could encourage more organic production in the wine region… Continue reading…