Climate, soils, growers - Wine and “terroir”
The taste and character of wines are inseparable from their origins. The concept of terroir encompasses more than the soil on the slopes where vines are cultivated: the climate, landscape, and grape variety also play a role, as does the work of the grower. All of these factors belong together, affect each other and can be tasted in the final wine.
One factor, the mother rock, has an especially strong influence on the taste of the wine. The main geological formations in Franconia are the Buntsandstein (bunter sandstone), Muschelkalk (shell limestone) and Keuper (mixed, but predominantly siliciclastic sedimentary rocks) that together make up the Franconian Triassic. Along the Middle Franconian Bocksbeutel Road, Keuper predominates. The soft gypsum keuper rock stores considerable heat. It is also rich in magnesium and imparts noticeable minerality to wines. The soils on top of the mother rock with their own specific levels of water, clay and nutrients also affect the wine produced. This explains why some winemakers add information on the mother rock wine has been grown on to the label on the bottle (“Echt Keuper”, genuine Keuper, for example) in addition to detailing the vineyard and the vintage year.
The mild Franconian climate with its warm, sunny summers and low but nevertheless adequate precipitation creates excellent conditions for the cultivation of vines. Occasionally, however, winegrowers are severely challenged by weather events such as late frost in May or exceptionally dry summers.