Volcanic wine is a wine that has been fermented from grapes grown on volcanic soils. In Portugal, the soils are volcanic on the Azores Archipelago, especially on the island of Pico.
The fact that Pico is still a relatively "young" island means it has no arable soil. The vineyards are planted in the cracks of the "Mother Rock".
The volcanic wines that are born here are a mirror image of the volcanic soils that originate them. The proximity of the volcanic vineyards to the sea allows a greater solar exposure and consequently a greater influence from the ocean. Volcanic wine from Pico Island, and island wines with volcanic origin in general, are characterised by having mineral and saline aromas (due to the presence of iodine) and great freshness and acidity.
A volcanic wine is a wine produced in regions whose soils are based on volcanic conditions. Volcanic soils can be young, if there is little degradation of the mother rock where the vines are planted, as is the case of the wines from the island of Pico.
When the soils are older and further on in the erosion process, we obtain a soil rich in volcanic matter, the vines are planted in arable soil, as is the case of the Etna vineyards in Italy.
This type of volcanic and island wine has the very specific features of being minerally, saline, and fresh (due to the proximity to the sea), in both white and red wines alike.
Volcanic wines have particular characteristics, they are extreme wines with a lot of acidity and minerality, they need to be paired with delicate and clean foods, such as oysters, “cracas” (barnacles) and other shellfish. Salted sea fish will also be a perfect pairing for volcanic wine. The indigenous grape varieties of the Azores such as Arinto dos Açores and Terrantez do Pico are examples of wines with high acidity and salinity. If you opt for wines with texture, such as the Volcanic Rosé or the Volcanic Red, then we recommend a good Azorean steak.
Volcanic wine can be readily found in specialty shops. Nowadays, it is a wine of reference in Portugal, and as such, it is well distributed. Visit our online shop, where you can find many volcanic wines of different types.