Great wines come from great soil.
The conversation about great wine sooner or later comes back down to where and how it was grown. Elevation, climate, and grape are key but choosing either sand, clay based, silt, or loamy soils is vital.
- Sandy soils drain well and stay warmer. Routinely they make wines which are “softer”, with less tannins. Typically the wine from these soils are much lighter in color. You can see examples of this from South African wines. In cooler climates the sandy soils benefit vineyards by retaining heat and also creating more resistance to pests so they lend them selves to organic growing methods.
- Clay Soils often create wines with more color, they retain water more, and keep a cooler temperature naturally. They are famous for creating bold reds.
- Silt Soils retain water and heat, creating more smooth wines with less acidity. In cooler climates that have sun silt soils mix with limestone and these soils are more difficult to grow roots.
Loamy soils equally mix silt, clay, and sand with humus added. Loam soils produce wines that have less flavor and color but because of their natural increased fertility they grow very vigorous plants resulting in more pruning. These soils are typical of Sonoma and Napa.