River Alluvium

Alluvium is a type of sediment which is usually described as alluvial. It is in fact the debris from alluvial soils that tend to accumulate in valley floors, at the bases of hills and around river valleys. It gives rise to soils which are often fine grained and typically fertile consisting of mud, silt, sand and sometomes gravel or stones deposited by flowing water on flood plains, in river beds, in deltas and in estuaries.

Schematically, we can divide the Alluvium into 2 main types:

  • the Alluvium deposited by rivers: newer than Alluvium lying in bedrock
  • the Alluvium lying in bedrocks: older soils which tend to allow to retain more magnesium during water drainage (highly desirable for high quality wines)

Alluvial soils are variable in texture, drainage and age. This change in texture can usually be seen in different layers over few meters of depth. These soils are rich in organic materials It usually results in more fertile soils were the vines can build deep root structures which make them more vigorous. It tends to generate larger berries, softer tannins and higher yields.

Where these soils are stony and sandy, as in the Medoc region of France and Marlborough in New Zealand, they are highly prized for winemaking.

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