Boom: Volcanic Wines Are Heating Up Around the Globe writes Wine and Spirits columnist for Bloomberg News Elin McCoy. As she was attending the International Volcanic Wine Conference in New York last month, she was wondering why volcanic wines were getting such a buzz recently. She asked master sommelier John Szabo, the author of Volcanic Wines: Salt, Grit and Power and organizer of the conference:
Wines from the several types of volcanic soils—lava, pumice, ash, basalt, and more—can vary widely, but most share complex aromas, mouthwatering high acidity, and salty, savory, earthy flavors. The porosity of these soils stores more water, which contributes to the wines’ characteristic freshness and exuberance.
But we shouldn’t underestimate the power of romance:
But the image of volcanoes may be the secret reason these wines are getting buzz. As Eric Guido, director of wine and marketing at Morrell and Co., emailed me: “Just think of the romance that surrounds wines grown in soils born of molten earth and ash!”
She highlights eight volcanic wine regions around the world including Somló, Hungary’s smallest wine region, which lies on the slopes of an extinct volcano:
Though the country’s volcanoes are no longer active, violent eruptions millennia ago left behind spectacular basalt deposits in several parts of the country. Somlo, a single volcanic butte known as the “forgotten hat of God,” produces powerful, distinctive whites. Bottle to try: 2015 Somloi Apatsagi Pince Juhfark Somlo($29) is rich, smoky, and savory and made from an almost extinct grape variety, juhfark, which is exclusive to Somlo.
Romance or not, I think volcanic wines are powerful and distinctive and if you like rich, earthy, mineral whites, you’ll enjoy the wines from Somló. You should also read Elin McCoy’s whole article to get a good overview of some of the world’s best volcanic regions.