Volcanoes in France and Germany?! Yes, even these mainland European countries have volcanic terroir and, of course, super yummy wine. Join the biddies for another leg of the volcanic passport tour.

Calla Drinking: Dr. Loosen “L” Riesling

Kara Drinking: Muller-Catoir Scheurebe Riesling



Study Notes:

*Please note some of these lines might be directly taken from sources noted above.


  • Around 400,000 million years ago, this corner of southwestern Germany and northeastern France was the site of tearing and crumpling of the earth’s crust
  • Mostly ceased long ago but some small pockets are still active


  • The winelands lie along the western margin of the Oberrheingraben (Upper Rhine Graben) – a grand fault system
  • Isolated volcanic cones formed at several spots along fissures, spewing out ash and lavas of various compositions over sandstones, marls, granites, limestones, etc. 
  • Like a patchwork quilt of volcanic spoils spread around the region
    • Most noticeable is Rangen de Thann Grand Cru in southern Alsace

DOC Rangen Grand Cru

  • Mount Rangenkopf rises above the Thur River Valley at the southernmost point of the Alsace appellation above the Vosges Fault line
  • Due to its extraordinarily steep slopes and effort/expense to farm them only a fraction of Rangen remains planted (means slope in German)
  • Only true volcanic terroir in Alsace
  • Perfect for Pinot Gris and Riesling as well a producing fine Gewurtztraminer
  • Zinck, Zind Humbrecht, Schoffit, Wolfberger produce commercial quantities of Rangen Grand Cru
  • Riesling from this area is consistently judged as having the most mineral with notable salinity and having greatest weight and concentration


  • There are 13 distinct soil types in Alsace ranging from granite to limestone to clay to sandstone.
  • Volcanic-sedimentary terroirs are most likely to be found on mountain sides
    • 300 million years ago volcanoes produced lava and ashes that became solid under water
    • Dark, stony soil that retain heat
    • Produce intense, full-bodied wines with a smoky aroma
  • Riesling: Rangen is Alsace’s southernmost grand cru and the only one known to be located on volcanic soils


  • The Eifel Volcanic Field is a large area of now-dormant hotspot volcanism containing over 200 volcanoes in western Germany north of the Mosel River
  • Youngest volcanic area with the last great eruption occurring just 12,000 years ago
  • Eruptive phase has seemingly ended but there are clearly still chambers of hot magma beneath the earth’s surface revealed by geyser activity
    • Parts of the Ahr and Mittlerhein wine regions lie within this field


  • Baden
    • Sunny, dry climate 
    • Lots of pinot noir (spatburgunder) and Pinot Gris (Grauburgunder) and Pinot Blanc (Weiddburgunder)
      • Often made in oaked styles
    • Also grow Muller-Thurgau, Riesling and Gutedel (Chasselas)
    • IF it helps….. Here are volcanic vineyards: Winklerberg of Ihringen, Krichberg, Henkenberg
    • VOLCANIC INFO: Germany’s southernmost wine region and the most obviously volcanic due to Kaiserstuhl massif
      • Only large volcanic complex that rises like an island out of the Rhine Graben atop the junction of two major faults where periodic eruptions occurred from 18-16 million years ago
  • Pfalz
    • Second largest wine growing region
    • Well known for riesling and whites but their reds are growing popularity – its the largest red wine region in Germany (Dornfelder and pinot noir)
    • Has more riesling planted then anywhere else in the world
    • VOLCANIC INFO: Lies on the Obberrheingraben like Alsace
      • A much larger fault system
      • Pechsteinkopf is a basaltic volcano above the town of Forst which has very revered vineyards
  • Mosel
    • Known for its whites, lower in ABV than many others but with 6-9% higher acidity
    • Best known for its riesling
    • Plants a lot of muller thurgau grape typically used for production of sweet wine
    • VOLCANO INFO: this area has much older volcanics than Eifel basalts dating over 280 million years old
      • Wittlischer Senke – a trough where the eart was pulled apart along a fault causing a section of crust to sink
      • Fissures along the edges allowed underlying magma to spill out onto the surface forming silica rich lavas, and other things
      • URZING – only wine growing village on the rift line and featured an ungrafted Riesling distinguished from other Mosel riesling by its typically depper colour and exotic flavors of mango, peach, apricot, honey, smoke, spice 

Calla’s Wine “Dr. Loosen L”

  • Comes from Wurzgarten
  • Makes a wine called Alte Reben Riesling from a small parcel in the heart of the veinyeard that is on red volcanic derived soils from the Wittlischer Senke 
  • L is the entry level Riesling 
  • The 2020 Loosen Dr. L Riesling is classic, delicious, and a smooth experience. TASTING NOTES: This wine offers alluring aromas and flavors of delicate flowers, ripe apple, green apple, and a hint of mineral notes. Pair it with Cantonese fish salad with slices of pickled scallions. (Tasted: May 27, 2021, San Francisco, CA)

Kara’s Wine – Muller-Catoir Scheurebe

  • Single family run since 1744, 9th generation
  • VDP Gutswein
  • The Estate Wines with the striking MC label are the introduction into the Müller-Catoir style: intricacy, elegance and directness, combined with a mineral freshness and a clean fruity note, characterise these wines. The basic wines generally come from the younger vines of the Müller-Catoir vineyards and don´t display site names on their labels.