When wine pros talk about terroir (which they do, endlessly), they mean all the qualities of a place that influence the taste of its wines—from the climate to the soil's minerals. Indeed, the subsoil below the top layer of earth has a huge influence on a wine's flavor.

June 01, 2010

Wine Region: Mosel, Germany

Soil Type: Slate

Impact: Rieslings have a distinctive flinty edge.

Bottle to Try: 2008 Selbach-Oster Kabinett ($19)

Video: Ray Isle on How to Smell Wine

Wine Region: Right Bank Bordeaux, France

Soil Type: Clay

Impact: Reds, mainly Merlot, are soft and plush.

Bottle to Try: 2006 Clos de l'Oratoire Saint-Émilion ($40)

More Wine Tips:

A Taste of Terroir on the Cheap

Natural Wine: Weird or Wonderful?

Top U.S. Natural Wine Shops