Bordeaux Vineyards and Soils
Card Set Information
Bordeaux Vineyards and Soils
FWS Master Level
Name 5 Geologic Time Periods
: 251M-199M years ago
: 199M-145M years ago
: 145M-65M years ago
: 65M-1.8M years ago
: 1.8M years ago to present (ice age ended 10K years ago)
What does Lacustrine mean?
lake deposits... freshwater sediment (clay, silt, sand, gravel)
Is sedimentation heavier in lakes or marine environments?
Lacustrine deposits are 10X heavier than marine deposits
Where is the Massif Amorican?
Brittany (65K square km)
What is Calcaire a Asteries?
Subsoil in left bank, right bank, Entre-Eeux-Mers
What is an anticlinal bulge?
Upthrust of soil layers (folding that puts oldest soil in center)
What is Molasse?
Terrestrial or marine deposits formed at the base of rising mountains; usually alluvial/fluvial sediments.
Name 4 types of fresh-water sedimentation in order of age
: alluvial, 55M-26M years ago
Calcaire de Castillon
: lacustrine, 36M-24M years ago
: alluvial, 36M-24M years ago
Molasse de l'Armagnac
: alluvial, 7M-5M years ago
Describe the 2 parts of the Aquitaine Basin
: less deep, less upheaval, erosion of limestone plus clay, sand, gravel from Massif Central
: sand, gravel from Massif Central, Pyrenees, and Perigord
separated by barrier reef during Jurassic period
Name 7 French vineyard terms
: removal of hilled up earth (March)
: prune (Nov, July leaf pull/green harvest)
: bud trimming
: stop vegetative growth (July)
Ban des Vendanges
: harvest start date decreed by Prefect of the Gironde
Name 4 French vine lifecycle terms
: bud break (March)
: flowering (May)
: berry set (May)
: grapes change color (August)
Name the dominant training systems used in Bordeaux
: 6-10 buds, 2-bud renewal spur
: 2 cordons, each with 5-7 buds, and 2-bud renewal spur
: 4 cordons and four 2-bud renewal spurs
: Lyre system is not approved (improves air circulation and sunlight exposure)
Are cover crops used between rows in Bordeaux?
Experimental; prevents erosion and slows down vegetative growth
Are grapes harvested by hand in Bordeaux?
Mandated in sweet appellations
Top estates hand-harvest
Mechanization has made inroads elsewhere in Bordeaux
Are grapes irrigated in Bordeaux?
Irrigation is illegal.
What planting density is used in Bordeaux?
: high density (10K vines/ha = 4K vines/acre)
: moderate density (5K-6K vines/ha)
: wide spacing (2K-4K vines/ha)
How large is Bordeaux (i.e., the Gironde departement)?
63 miles N-S, 78 miles E-W
: 1M ha
: 75 miles N-S diagonal, 5 miles E-W, 300 chateaux
Characterize the soils of the left bank
Soils regulate water supply (no extremes regardless of rainfall)
What does a regulated water supply mean?
Roots are deep enough to avoid absorbing too much rain (dilute extract) and tap into water table during drought
What is a balanced canopy?
Fruit is not shaded
Most leaves are photosynthesizing
Air can circulate to dry leaves and fruit (mitigates disease)
Describe the topography of Bordeaux
: Flat, 100-140 ft above sea level, "hills" are flat rises atop lowlands.
: String of small hills, interspersed by low lying plateaus and deep valleys. Elevation peaks at 377 ft in Ste.-Foy.
Describe the soils of the first growths
Gravel atop limestone
: 30' Gunz gravel atop pre-Ice Age gravel atop starfish limestone
: these adjacenet properties have 30' Gunz gravel atop sand-marl atop St. Estephe limestone
: 30' Gunz gravel atop sandy oyster shell marl atop St. Estephe limestone
: Mostly thin gravels atop freshwater limestone (Lacustre de Plaisac) and blue-grey Fronsadais marl.
What is La Terre Blanche ("white soil")?
Ch. Margaux's soil mix
What is the Jalle de Blanquefort?
Dividing line between Medoc and Graves
Describe Graves soil
35 miles along Garonne's left bank
: gravel mounds favor red cultivars which thrive in the clay and silt
: including Cerons, transitional
: Barsac/Sauternes: much more limestone
Describe Bourg and Blaye soil
Sand/loam/gravel/siderolithique soils atop starfish limestone
What is Siderolithique soil?
Ironstone created by weathering of iron in clay; well-structured red wines
Describe Fronsac/Canon-Fronsac soil
Starfish limestone atop Fronsadais molasse
Separated from Pomerol/St. Emilion by Isle river
Canon-Fronsac is hillier than Fronsac
Describe Pomerol soil
Mostly Gunz gravel; higher elevation than Medoc
Petrus, Trotanoy, Vieux Ch. Certain are sandy gravel atop Fronsadais marl
Lalande-de-Pomerol on ice age alluvial gravel
Describe the soil of Saint-Emilion and its Satellites
Clay-silt-sand atop weathered starfish limestone
Satellites on limestone buttes amidst Perigord sands
17 variations of clay-silt-sand-limestone compositions
Describe the soil of Cotes de Francs and Cotes de Castillon
Cotes de Francs
: Perigord sands
Cotes de Castillon
: lacustrine limestone
Neither produces age worthy wine
Are the top Saint-Emilion wines on typical soil?
Ausone on starfish limestone (typical)
Cheval Blanc on iron-rich gravel (atypical... more like Pomerol)
What is a butte?
Flat-topped hill with steep slopes (escarpments)
What is loess?
fine wind-blown silts and sands
Describe Entre-Deux-Mers soil
Clay, Silt, Sand atop weathered starfish limestone, plus small gravels and loess
Name 3 unique terroirs in Entre-Deux-Mers
Loupiac/Sainte-Croix du Mont/Cadillac
: Escarpment blocks mist rising off of the confluence of the Ciron and Garonne rivers
Graves de Vayres
: lies opposite the mouth of the Isle river and has heavy gravel deposit
Sainte-Foy ("holy faith")
: freshwater limestone buttes; highest elevation in Bordeaux
Name the grapes that prefer gravel and sand (warm soils)
Name the grapes that prefer clay and limestone (cold soils)
: Cabernet Franc, Malbec
Name the 2 types of gravel in Bordeaux
: produces structured, long-lived wines
: Pomerol; iron-rich sands and clays between the stones
: produces fruit-forward wines that mature in 5 years
Describe the types of wines produced on different soils
: pronounced acidity and lean tannins (smooth but firm)
: notes of prune and black walnut
: dense tannins (suede-like) and takes time to mature
: soft and fruit-forward; easy drink-ability, simple