Lavaux soils are rich and varied, making an excellent breeding ground for vines and a case study for the geologists.
The Lavaux UNESCO sloping land and terraces look like a patchwork of soils, sometimes clay, limestone or stony. The wine producers find a true playing field there, with each “terroir” greatly influencing the flavour of the fruits that grow on it.
The most obvious examples are the exceptional terroirs of the Calamin AOC and Dézaley AOC Grands Crus. The first is the result of a landslide in the Middle Ages, which has standardised a soil rich in limestone and clay, from which the wine draws its original mineral flavours. From this soil the Dézaley Grand Cru AOC still bears the scars of the retreating Rhondanian glacier. Its terroir is more complex, marked by the rocks and the walls which support this unusually sloping land.
The origin of Lavaux can be summarised in three main episodes: the deposit of molasse sedimentary layers, the formation of the Alps and the retreat of the Rhondanian Glacier, which carved out the lemanic basin over 20,000 years ago.
Lavaux soil types