While the variety, cellar philosophy and vineyard vegetation are all factors that significantly impact a finished wine's «nose and taste», it is its «natural foundation» – the soil itself, that perhaps has the greatest impact.
Tectonic upheaval in the Rhine rift around Birkweiler, Albersweiler and Frankweiler led to very old and deep geological formations moving up to the surface:
This slate gets the red color from its high iron content. «Rotliegendes» is the oldest time of Perm, which began 299 Million years ago and ended 257 Million years ago. Perm is the end of Paleozoic.
Through the irruption of Rhine rift 45 Million years ago earth crust broke into lamellar segments. The edges of the rift fanned out into different layers and the shoulders formed mountains (Schwarzwald, Vogesen and Pfälzer Wald). In some areas the oldest deepest parts came to the top. This the reason for those very old soils in sites like Kastanienbusch at the bottom of Hohenberg, while the top of the mountain contains much younger soils like sandstone.
Typical for Rieslings from red slate are hints of hay, herbs and the significant mineratily of slate. Wines from this soil need time, to develop their full potential.
You can find this type of soil in the KASTANIENBUSCH.
Colorful sandstone – like limestone – also belongs to Trias, which began 251 Million years ago and ended 243 Million years ago. Colorful sandstone contains for the most part continental sediments, as well as red conglomerate, sand and clay. Most mountains of Pfälzer Wald consist of soils from this geological epoch.
In our sites we can find colorful sandstone as weathered soil at the hill as well as slop and terrace gravel next to Queich valley. Through fast warming and little water reservoir of this type of soil, vines are weaker in growth, which is good for aroma development.
Typical are Rieslings with a lot of fruit, like peach, apricot and apples. The younger hill and terrace gravel soils of sandstone are a little heavier and have better water reservoir. The aroma of vines growing on this soil reminds of citrus fruits. Also typical is a salty acidity. Rieslings from colorful sandstone have a huge aging Potential.
Our site with this soil is called GANZ HORN.
The geological epoch of limestone belongs, as well as sandstone, to Trias. It began 243 Million years ago and ended 235 Million years ago. The soil consist of chalk, which contains seashells. In many cases you can find fossilized shells in the soil.
Limestone soils are the best soils for Pinots. This is the reason why we grow most of our Pinots beside Riesling on these sites. Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris as well as Pinot Noir are really high in minerality and present the balance of soil and their typical aroma profile in perfect harmony. These wines have a huge aging potential.
Typical for Rieslings from Limestone are exotic fruit aromas and citrus fruits, pineapple and mango. The soil creates a great density, fine minerality and perfectly balanced acidy. They also have a great aging potential.
Loess develops, when silt and sand get blown away and after long transportation (ten to more than hundreds of kilometers) sediment in areas with tight vegetation. After sedimentation these single minerals get cemented by clay and loam. This loess formation in the Rhine rift happed for the most part in cooler times of Pleistocene (15.000 – 300.00 years ago).
Loess is a formation of quarts grains with chalk pieces. When weathering affects the top part of loess, this frees the chalk and builds clay minerals. This type of soil is called loess-loam.
Aeolian dust sediments can easily be called “presents of ice age”, because this fertile chalk soils are rich of minerals, which are a good water reservoir and guaranty good supply for the vines. These soils create powerful wines, with harmonies acidity.
We usually grow Pinot varieties on this soil, like Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
These soils can be found scattered in the slopes surrounding the village of Siebeldingen, in many cases with notable features of weathering.
The formation of the Rhine rift and Quiech River valley in more recent geological history produced our unique and layered soil make-up:
- Slope and terrace gravel (Quaternary)
- Loess and loess-loam (Ice Age)
Each geological composition imbues a unique sensory character to the wines growing in it.