Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 
 
11.21.2007  
 

Research Shows Terroir Matters

Tests on German Riesling show strong similarities based on soil types

 
by Gary Werner
 
 
Research Shows Terroir Matters
 
London, England -- Research conducted over three years by an agricultural research center in southwestern Germany appears to offer scientific proof of a nebulous tenet long championed by enophiles: Terroir exists and matters.

The results of the study were presented to the U.K. wine trade and press during a seminar sponsored by the German Wine Institute in London on Nov. 7th. Speaker Andrea Bauer of the DLR-Rheinpfalz in the city of Neustadt, said, "We have tried to explore how conditions in a vineyard influence the sensory profile of the wines that it produces."

To do so, Bauer and research director Dr. Ulrich Fischer focused exclusively on Riesling. Bauer explained that wines from this variety were appropriate for their study because they are recognised as being particularly expressive of their origins--not least because their production traditionally avoids character-altering techniques such as oak-influenced fermentation or malolactic acid conversion.

The study began with the 2004 harvest in Germany, and it enlisted the assistance of several growers across the Pfalz region. From the 2005 vintage, the work expanded to include estates in other regions such as the Mosel and Rheinhessen. Vineyard sites were selected for the program according to criteria including specific soil types--such as sandstone, basalt, limestone and slate. The idea was to determine if there are discernable similarities across wines from well separated sites having comparable soil types, as well as any consistent differences in wines from proximate sites with different soil compositions.

Another aspect of the research went even further to permit site-driven aspects of the wines to manifest themselves--by removing the influence of the winemakers. "We harvested about 100kg of grapes from each test site, with the participating estate owners," Bauer said. "But we vinified the batches ourselves under standardized conditions at the DLR's experimental cellar. So each wine was made in the same type of vessel, and with the same yeast strain before racking and bottling in an identical manner."

She continued, "Then came the centerpiece of the research--the sensory analysis of these Rieslings. We conducted qualitative analysis of each wine with expert panels trained to use sensory descriptors that we developed to highlight the differences between the various samples. Each of them were tasted in duplicate or triplicate."

Research Shows Terroir Matters
 
This clinical approach offered very distinct results. Bauer said, "Diagrams that aggregate the results clearly showed that wines produced on slate were citrusy, with markedly sharp acidity. Basalt showed richer fruit flavours and smoother acidity. Limestone showed more intense color and more tropical fruit and even honey aromas. Sandstone showed mineral and citrus characters on the nose and pronounced acidity on the palate.

"Even when comparing wines from, for example, the very similar soils and steep slopes of the Birkweiler Kastanienbusch vineyard in the southern Pfalz, and the Urziger Wurzgarten site in the Mosel-- which are more than 200km (120 miles) apart--we saw only slight differences. The wine from the warmer south was bigger or more textured on the palate. But more interesting were the similarities. Sensory analysis showed a significant grapefruit and smoke profile in both, which seems to be evidence of the overt role of soil in wine character. And the results were consistent across 2004 and 2005, too, which were quite different viticulturally in Germany."

Bauer said the research is continuing with the 2007 vintage, and that consideration of climatic and topographic factors is an important part of future work. But even now she has been able to conclude, "Sensory analysis showed consistent differences across the wines produced from different vineyard site types, and also very clear similarities among those produced from similar site types. There were some variations, but they never over-rode the essential profiles or characters or, in other words, the terroir of these places."
SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
CURRENT NEWS INDEX »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
July 2015 $603 million
6%
$8,136 million
6%
July 2014 $568 million $7,701 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
July 2015 $66 million
9%
$1,906 million
14%
July 2014 $61 million $1,674 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
July 2015 323
4%
262
18%
July 2014 312 222
     
 
MORE » Released on 08.13.2015
Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2015
 
Download full report »
 
 

Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • September 6
     
    Harvest Wine Celebration
     
  • September 11-13
     
    Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic
     
  • September 17
     
    Winejobs.com Summit
     
  • September 18
     
    Owning and Operating an Urban Winery or Brewery
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: Nielsen Unpacks Package Design »
 
Okay, I'll state the obvious (to anyone with CPG experience) - the Wine Biz is...
Reader: Joel Miller
 
Article: Nielsen Unpacks Package Design »
 
Very interesting reading. Certainly agree with the more indirect approach of evaluating the extent to...
Reader: Roger Brooks
 
Article: Experimental Solution to Pierce's Disease »
 
Congratulations to the team! It is amazing what can be done with biological controls. Keep...
Reader: Bruce Coulthard
 
Article: The Spiciest Wines You Have Ever Tasted »
 
There are some wines from New Mexico are infused with pepper flavors. Also, The Wine...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Does Red Blotch Affect Wine? »
 
I have a grapevine in my polytunnel in east London which is showing signs of...
Reader: Guest
 
 


2015 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
   LEARN MORE »
 
   SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Social Media Manager
 Culver City, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Office Manager
 Lompoc, CA
General Administration and
 Cafe Lead & Wine Bar
 Yountville, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Harvest Lab Intern
 Rutherford, CA
Cellar, Lab and Production
 Temporary Part Time Ta...
 Glen Ellen, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Tasting Room Associate
 Kenwood, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Sales Rep. For Westche...
 Westchester, NY
Sales and Marketing
 Sales Rep. For North-E...
 North-Eastern New Jersey, NJ
Sales and Marketing
 Sales Rep. For Manhatt...
 Manhatten, NY
Sales and Marketing
 Sales Rep. For Long Is...
 Long Island, NY
Sales and Marketing
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2015 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.