"Volcanic wine" is quite on-trend these days, and understandably so. They are some of the most mineral-laden and distinct wines in flavor, and they come from very rare and interesting places all around the world! (In fact, volcanic soil represents a mere one percent of the total surface of the earth!)
As someone who is a HUGE lover of rocks - you better believe I'm a YUGE fan of this trend. Volcanic or igneous rocks are kind of my favorite because they are formed by the cooling and solidification of magma or lava. You get all kinds of different compositions of them just based on how they are formed and made of. That being said, the WINE that is grown on volcanic soil carries the same variance of traits within their favor. 🤯
*Note: I'm putting quotes around "volcanic wine" because TECHNICALLY you should think of volcanic wines as just wine grown on volcanic soil. (It doesn't exist as a singular.) THE MORE YOU KNOW!
Here are a few of my favorite bangin' and boomin' wines:
Let me start by saying that this wine was the inspiration behind why I decided to write this post about volcanic wines. Not only is it absolutely incredible in taste, but it has got an awesome backstory. Alta Mora is a winery that belongs to the Cusumano family. They are amazingly talented vintners who have vineyards throughout the whole island of Sicily. However, the one they call Alta Mora is literally on the slopes of the most active volcano in all of Europe - Mt. Etna. Now, I don't know about you, but I'm not sure if I'd have the tenacity to put my entire life's work on something that technically is a ticking time bomb... #respect The Alta Mora vineyards are up at a very high altitude - located 4,000 ft up the mountain (Mt. Etna's peak is 11,000 ft). The land is rich with black and dynamic volcanic soil from the still active volcano. The wine that I'm showcasing (Alta Mora Etna Rosso 2014) is 100% made from the Nerello Mascalese varietal. Many wine enthusiasts compare it to Nebbiolo or Pinot Noir because they all have thicker skins, resulting in wine with rich in fruit flavors, firm tannins and vibrant acidity.
My second #volcanicwine 🌋is total DYNAMITE, y’all 🧨💥- it’s a 2017 Aa white wine blend from the Domaine Sigalas winery in Santorini, Greece! 🇬🇷🍷 Santorini is a crescent-shaped cluster of volcanic islands in the southern part of the Aegean Sea. The islands were created by one massive volcanic eruption that happened sometime within the last 10,000 years. As a result, the entire island is comprised of a combination of different volcanic soils, including black lava, volcanic ash, and pumice. The Sigalas Domain winery in Santorini is one of Greece’s finest white wine producers. They focus mainly on the Assyrtiko varietal and are acclaimed for being skilled in making different types - including dry, barrel fermented, and sweet. This wine is a 75/25 blend of the white grape varietals: Assyrtiko and Athiri. It’s aged in stainless steel to make sure those special volcanic mineral notes stay nice and pronounced. 👌🏼 Wines from Santorini are quite different than what you find in other parts of Greece - they are potent, intense, dry, white, and have to dominate scents of lemon and, of course, minerals! If you are a fan of dry riesling, this would be right up your alley.
My Tasting Notes:
Color: Pale yellow
Dominate Flavors: Mineral forward with notes of lemon, pear and light peach. (There is a perfect amount of sweetness too)
Taste Profile: Crisp and bright, high in acidity.
The last "volcanic wine" that I'm featuring is from the Red Hills Lake County appellation in sunny California - a 2017 Obsidian Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon. Similar to Alta Mora, (the first volcanic wine I shared), the Obsidian Ridge vineyards are planted at a very high altitude and on the slopes of a mountain. However, these mountains (the Mayacamas) were formed by volcanic activity a long time ago, and are no longer active. So being that the mountains were formed by volcanos, the soil contains rich amounts of volcanic rock - and this specific area contains obsidian rock, which in addition to being at a high-altitude, makes for amazing conditions to produce stellar grapes and quality wine. This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and aged in Hungarian oak barrels for 18 months. (Hungarian oak is known to give off stronger flavors of vanilla and coconut to the wine, thanks to its extra-tight wood grain!)
My Tasting Notes:
Color: Deep, concentrated ruby red.
Dominate Flavors: Big and bold black cherry, cocoa and tobacco. I get some earth that lingers a bit on the finish.
Taste Profile: This wine is full-bodied with hard amount of tannins.