Volcanic Wines - Mixed Case
Volcanic Wines - Mixed Case
A spectacular mixed case of 'volcanic' wines containing either 1 or 2 bottles of each of the following wines:
Envinate Benje White, Santiago del Teide, Tenerife, Spain 2016
Fascinating, unusual and perplexing, perhaps, but downright delicious too. This is a wine to show anyone with a little curiosity for the esoteric in their veins. The grapes are grown on a volcanic island in the Atlantic Ocean and the wine has all the mineral, saline, marine qualities that you might expect, but the fruit is there in full ripeness too, so it's a wonderful cymbal crash of flavours, showing bitter lemon, grapefruit, sour mash, wet stones, star fruit and green melon. Organically and biodynamically farmed. Drink now-2020.
Gaia ‘Wild Ferment’ Assyrtiko, Santorini, Greece 2017
More smoky than the Thalassitis, a little more spicy. Complex, refined aroma that perfectly balances the varietal character and the winemaking influence. Herbal notes from the wild ferment, citrus and herbal notes from the variety. Deep, almost chewy on the palate. You can just feel the SO2 at the moment and I’d wait at least six months before drinking this – also to allow the oak to die back a little. Rich, bone dry and with great intensity and persistence.
Arinto dos Açores, The Azores Wine Company, Azore Islands 2017
Set your sat nav to 'The Beaten Path' and then do a U-Turn.
The Azores are a group of volcanic islands that lie about 800 miles west of Lisbon in the Atlantic Ocean and this white wine is made by a young winemaker on a mission to reclaim Pico Island’s dry stone-walled vineyards (well worth checking out on Google Images if you have a moment). For hundreds of years, the volcanic rocks that are scattered across the island have been stacked in a web of corrals (currais) to protect the vines from the wind and sea-spray, and to help the grapes ripen quicker with a little night-time warmth.
This here wine is made from Arinto, which is indigenous to the Azore Islands and not the same as the Arinto grape found on mainland Portugal (it’s actually a cross between Verdelho and Serceal). Everything about this wine is extreme (the price too, you might argue), so brace yourself for acidity, minerality, salinity and a great adventure. 13% alc. Drink 2018-2025.
Etna Rosso 'Ciauria', Pietro Caciorgna, Sicily, Italy 2017
There's an integrity to this wine that risks attracting the worst sort of customer: the hipster. If we wanted our virtual shop to be populated by bearded men knitting, then we'd lure them in with low filament light bulbs, but we can't help the fact that this wine ticks the same boxes that bring all the authenticity-hunters to the yard. It's an astonishingly aromatic Nerello Mascalese sourced from pre-phylloxera vines on the slopes of Mount Etna aged for 6 months in French oak. The combination of the altitude (2,000 feet above sea level) and the rich, mineral soil, give the wine extraordinary aromatic lift, suggesting peach fuzz, crushed red cherries, sweet roses and wet stones and the palate is as light and fresh as the pale colour suggests it will be, but there's real fascination and depth in there too, as you might find in a ripe Nebbiolo or a richly-scented Pinot Noir. It's fashionably terroir-driven, proudly true to its origins, and, as such, is bang 'on-trend'. No wait, no it's not, it's really uncool! Hey you, in the ironic t-shirt, get out! 13.5% alc. Drink now-2022. Only 4,000 bottles produced.
Cannonau Riserva, Olianas, Sardinia, Italy 2014
Cannonau is the Italian name for Garnacha (arguably Spain's most important grape variety) and it proliferates in Sardinia, because the Spanish ruled here for nearly four centuries and, you may be surprised to know, Catalan is still spoken in the northwestern Sardinian port of Alghero. This is an expression of Cannonau at its richest and most voluptuous and you can thank Vegas and Dinette for that. They are the two pack horses, who plough the rows of these organic vineyards, ensuring that the plants have to delve deep into the soil to find nutrients. Hard-working vines produce concentrated berries (thicker skins, less pulp) and that translates into a richer wine. This is a full-bodied, oak-aged evocation of inky blackberries, vanilla, blackcurrant cordial, sandalwood and black cherry compote. 18 months in French and Slavonian oak. Organic. 14.5% alc. Drink now-2024
Envinate 'Benje', Tenerife, Spain 2017
Only a few bottles of this graceful beauty have made it to the UK and we put our hands up for as much as we could have. As much as we could have turned out to be 30 bottles, so it's not going to stretch very far, but this is one of the finest reds we have tasted from Tenerife (and, no, that's not like saying he was the best-looking guy in the burns unit). It's incredibly fine, with a real sense of the rocky, volcanic, Atlantic soil, but not in such a way that it smothers the fruit, which is bright and succulent. It's a blend of 98% Listan Prieto and 2% Tintilla from 70 to 120 year-old vines sitting at 1,100 metres altitude on the cliffs of northwestern Tenerife and it has a wonderful freshness and purity and, despite being light-bodied, a fascinating scope of flavours both fruity and mineral. It should appeal to anyone who loves Loire reds, cool climate Pinot Noir, Etna Rosso... that kind of thing. Pale and haunting and very evocative. 12.5% alc. Drink now-2021.