Granite is an igneous or magmatic rock that is rich in quartz, feldspar and mica. As it disintegrates over time, the granite forms a coarse sand - a characteristic to be seen in its top soil.
Wines grown in granite soils reveal a great finesse, a delicate acidity and floral characteristics. The Riesling varietal is well-suited to this light and easily-draining terroir.
Schist is a foliated rock, a process caused by the compression of clay within the earth’s crust. It may be either sedimentary or metamorphic.
Wines grown in schist are lively and elegant yet require time to reveal their personalities – as with granite, Riesling thrives in this type of soil.
Sedimentary volcanic terroirs
These are formed by lava, volcanic ash and projections formed under water. These rocks contains elements of sandstone and are rich in tiny grey and black volcanic particles.
Pinot Gris and Riesling are well-suited to this soil which allows full-bodied wine of great aromatic sophistication to develop.
Sandstone occurs through the cementing process of quartz sand. When the rock weathers, it breaks down into sand and develops a fine top soil.
Riesling and Pinot Gris blossom in this type of terroir which enables the production of a fine wine that is fruity in character.
Alsace limestone is a sedentary rock from the Secondary era of which two types are common; the hard, grey “Muschelkalk” and the softer “Dogger” variety which is lighter in colour.
Limestone soil is conducive to the production of wines which have density on the palate and retain their complexity of floral flavours. Pinot Noir, Muscat and Gewurztraminer are particularly well-adapted to terroirs of this sort.
This soil is composed of heavy deposits of marl and limestone pebbles which coalesce together.
Marl and Limestone terroirs
Producing a top soil of great depth, most of the grape varieties grown therein do very well.
Wines produced in this soil are full-bodied and powerful, displaying fruity, floral and spicy characteristics.
These are Secondary clay soils comprising limestone, sandstone and marl. The top layers of these soils are deep and retain water well.
Sand-Marl and Limestone terroirs
Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer are well-suited to this soil which produce fine, lively wines which are both fruity and mineral in character.
May be predominantly limestone or sandstone according to the dominant rock in the area. If limestone is preponderant; the topsoil will be more clay-like. If sandstone dominates, the top soil is sandier.
Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer excel in this soil and the wines produced give floral notes and the taste of exotic fruit.
Is a composition of sandstone pebbles coated in a sandy clay. Of a medium depth, the soil is poor at water retention and quick-draining.
Gewurztraminer and Riesling flourish in this type of soil and the resultant wines are fresh, delicate and of great aromatic complexity.
Both the topsoil and rock beneath are for the most part comprised of clay. This is a very fertile soil and retains water very well.
Riesling as well as Pinots Blanc and Gris blossom in this soil from which wine of great power may be produced.
Colluvium terroirs This is a very common soil to be found in Alsace where it accumulates at the foot of a slope.
A soil which permits Riesling, the Pinots and Sylvaner to display their flavours when very young and which is particularly successful in drier vintages.
Alluvium are the deposits from water courses. These soils are full of pebbles, gravel, sand and silt.
These well-drained and fine quality soils are best-suited to lighter wines and to Riesling in particular
A silt which is pale yellow in colour and containing sand and limestone particles, Loess is a product of the Quaternary glacial period. Loess alteration transforms the substance into Loam which is browner in appearance and has a texture more akin to clay.
Loess and loam terroirs
Wines which are delicate and light in character which are able to be drunk young are characteristic of this soil