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June Wine Box
A mouth-watering high acidity, a savoury sensation verging on salinity, mineral intensity, and lively fruit …these are just a few descriptions that come to mind when I think of “Volcanic wines”–or rather, wines made of grapes that grow on volcanic soils.
Although volcanic soils account for a mere 1% of the world’s surface, grapes seem to occupy a disproportionate share. They are not just regions where grapes can grow, they actually seem to perform incredible feats despite the often harsh conditions. The list of volcanic regions reads like a magical roll call of the world’s most exciting wine origins. From Napa Valley through to the Pacific Northwest, Chile’s Andean Volcanic Belt, the Azores and Madeira, parts of Alsace, Germany, Hungary, to Japan are some of the regions I considered for June’s theme of Volcanic Wines.
The Canary Islands are covered in hundreds of volcanic cones, but the biggest and most majestic is Tenerife’s El Teide. Having visited this region and enjoyed the views of El Teide from my bedroom window, its braided vines and smoky wines left a big impression on me. Wines from the Canary Islands have a long history, even Shakespeare referenced them by name in several of his plays. Along with Lanzarote, Tenerife wines are enjoying the status of the ‘next greatest thing” in the wine world and therefore deserved to be included in this selection.
Italy was the next stop for the box; from Soave to Sicily the choices here seem to be endless. Although Sicily and its Mount Etna is much more famous, I went to a tiny island north of it called Salina. Mainly because – as name suggests on the tin- the white I discovered from there will truly make you salivate from the incredible balance between saline and fresh sensations.
Picture-perfect Santorini is perhaps the hardest place to grow grapes. Their unique basket-shape vine pruning is done to protect the bunches from harsh winds and blistering sun. The vines are old- some over 250 years- and know what they’re doing. The Assyrtiko grapes produce wines of superior length and intensity- and can age well too as you’ll see from your 2014 vintage!
Finally we finish in France, in the Auvergne whose volcanic history stretches back 70,000 years and today gentle hilltops are the remnants of a dormant volcanic region.
Join in on Monday June 14th to learn about Tenerife directly from the passionate winemaker Jonatan Garcia Lima as he tells us about his volcanic wine region and trail-brazing winery.