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Between a Rock and a Hard Place: 8 Wines Grown on Slate Soils


Rocky, slate-driven soils might look like a nightmare for growing anything, however many wine-producing regions across the globe use the unique attributes of these soils to their benefit. These well-draining soils are a boon in high-precipitation areas, assuring that the vines aren’t overridden with water. Additionally, some slate soils in cooler climates are dark in color, which absorbs and disperses heat from the sun and helps to ripen the grapes.

Riesling is well-suited to slate soils, with the most notable examples coming from the Mosel in Germany and Clare Valley in Australia. The llicorella soils in Priorat in northeast Spain are made up of black slate and quartz and yield powerful, structured red wines made from Garnacha, Carignan and Monastrell.

Here are 8 wines that showcase the power of slate soils.