Here is an overview of some famous terra rossa vineyards and regions around the globe:
Weilberg (Pfalz, Germany)
Pfeffingen "Weilberg" Riesling (Pfalz, Germany)
There are two known vineyards with terra rossa soil in Germany: the Steingruber in Westhoffen and this Weilberg vineyard in Ungstein. Pfeffingen's Weilberg vineyard has a strip of terra rossa soil that runs from the top of the hill to the bottom. The terra rossa portion takes up about 4 hectares of the vineyard's 30 hectares. Pfeffingen owns 2 of the 4 terra rossa hectares. They plant riesling on it; the co-op that owns the other half plants it with spatburgunder.
Pfeffingen winemaker Jan Eymael has this to say about working with the terra rossa soil:
"Terra rossa is an extremely dense soil. It's very thick and extremely difficult to work with. When it's dry, it is as hard as concrete. When it's wet, it's really sticky." (Eymael, 2013)
John Riddoch (1827-1901): born in Scotland, moved to Australia during a gold mining boom, found a gold nugget, sold it, used the money to open up a series of shops that sold necessities to gold miners. In 1861 he came to Penola where he farmed sheep and got lucky in a wool boom. He became wealthy, built a mansion in Yallum Park, entertained royalty and was considered one of the best dressed members of the South Australian parliament. By the time 1891 rolled around he was ready to open up a new business and founded the Penola Fruit Company. He planted cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, malbec and pinot noir and made his first wine by 1895. (Wynns 2004)
In 1897 Riddoch rallied the local growers and suggested that they name their town Coonawarra. The name began to appear on labels and soon Coonawarra wines popped up frequently in the press. After Riddoch's death a distillery took over and spent decades turning wine from this incredible terroir into brandy. To help the regional economy growers were offered subsidies to rip out crops and start dairy farms. Things were looking bleak for Coonawarra wine until S. Wynn & Co. bought the old Riddoch property in 1951 and started selling wine instead of brandy.
In 1982 Wynns decided to pay homage to John Riddoch by naming a top cuvee after him. It's made from only the top fruit in the top vintages, and after that only a few select barrels are chosen. The winemakers at Wynns estimate that less than 1% of their top cabernet sauvignon grapes go into this special bottling.
Biblia Chora (Macedonia, Greece)
At Biblia Chora, the quartz-studded terra rossa soil works its magic on several grape varieties, most notably assyrtiko. While some argue that assyrtiko cannot produce fine wine outside of Santorini, the Biblia Chora 'Areti' wine-- 100% assyrtiko and as of 2012 15% barrel fermented-- is an example of an extremely special wine from this soil.
Eymael, Jan. (2013) Personal Communication during Winery Visit. 2 May 2013.
Wynns (ed). (2004) Reflections: 50 Years of Wynns Coonawarra Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
*this is a promotional book put out by the winery to celebrate their 50 year anniversary & document a 50 year vertical tasting held in celebration of the anniversary.
Tsaksarlis, Vassilia. (2014) Personal Communication during Winery Visit. 1 June 2014.