The importance of soil-type in shaping wine quality has, in the past, been under-emphasised by Australian wine-producers. This is definitely changing as producers begin experimenting with single vineyard wines, in the process noting differences which may be attributable to soil characteristics.
At Lithostylis, we are afflicted with an apparently incurable disease known technically as ‘Ferrosolophilia’, also known colloquially as ‘Red Dirt Fever’. The symptoms of this disease; excited murmuring and a slight rise in core body temperature, are triggered by contact with, or images of, Leongatha’s deep, red soil!
It is Beautiful!
The soil around Leongatha goes by many names: Kraznozem (a Russian word meaning Red Earth), Ferrosol (Iron Soil), Ironstone Soil or simply The Red Soil.
The Ferrosol of Leongatha is formed from Tertiary Basalt and is of volcanic origin. The red color is due to oxides of iron. Oxides are an indication of well-aerated and therefore free-draining soiltypes – perfect for vine roots (which have a strong aversion to waterlogging). The soil is deep, deep, deep! Soil depths (before hitting bedrock) can be 6m+ and well-structured throughout. The soil is ‘warm’, a function of it’s dark color and water holding capacity.
We believe there are consistent characteristics which this soil-type imparts our wine with; driving natural acidity, citrus dominant flavours (in Chardonnay), a palate of great finesse, floral aromas, and an intense purple hue (in Pinot Noir). In all wines, a minerality is common.
“Soil is the Soul of the wine.”