Alsace 101: Alsace Rocks
August 26, 2013
Alsace rocks for its well-structured, food-friendly and delicious white wines, but that isn’t the only reason. Alsace is home to 13 distinct soil compositions, offering a huge variety of taste profiles and a terroir that few other regions can replicate.
Terroir is the special combination of soil, climate, topography and vineyard practices, which produces Alsace's pure, mineral-driven wines.
Alsace’s mosaic of ancient soils best distinguishes the wines, but it wouldn’t be possible without the region’s unique geography and weather. Protected by the Vosges Mountains, Alsace has one of the lowest annual rainfalls and the most hours of sunshine in any French wine region, allowing the grapes to ripen slowly and develop complex aromas, excellent structure and balanced acidity.
The range of geologic forms—from granite, schist and volcanic to limestone, sandstone, clay and alluvial—is so varied that a winemaker can experience more soil types walking his vineyard in Alsace than he can walking across the United States.
Each soil imparts a distinct minerality and—when partnered with a particular grape variety and winemaking style—produces a wine that is truly a pure expression of Alsace.