Top 10 volcanic wines
18th February, 2016 by Darren Smith
As well as being one of nature’s most impressive phenomena, volcanoes contribute to the making of some stunning and very distinctive wines, combining fresh, mouthwatering acidity, saline or flinty-peppery ‘minerality’ and remarkable longevity.
As the recent Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) volcanic wines seminar and tasting made plain, however, there’s more than one type of volcano in the world and, inevitably, more than one volcanic wine style.
Perhaps owing to the keen interest that the wines of volcanic regions such as Soave, Alsace, Etna, Santorini and Tenerife have stimulated, a wealth of scientific inquiry into these regions’ soils has also been generated.
The seminar, hosted by Sarah Abbott MW and co-ordinated by Abbott along with Nancy Gilchrist and IMW events officer Camilla Fitzgerald, highlighted some of the key scientific questions that volcanic terroirs raise – questions that have implications for our understanding of terroir in general: how could the chemical components of these distinct soils be responsible for a ‘volcanic style’? Are soil structure and the availability of water more important in expressing such a style than vineyard location, grape variety and microclimate?
The answers to these questions may still be up for debate, but fortunately that does not prevent us from appreciating the great wines that volcanoes produce.
Here are our top 10 from the IMW tasting…