Island wine. Why do I find that so extraordinary? First of all, it’s just amazing to enjoy wine on a stunning island. The sun, the sea, the view – wine always tastes better in that scenario. But there are other reasons too! Let’s dive into the most important ones right here.
What makes island wine so special?
Wines produced on an island can be unique for various reasons:
An island’s unique terroir, which includes its soil, climate, and geographical location, can greatly influence wine production. The combination of volcanic, limestone, or other specific soil types, along with the influence of the sea and the local microclimate, results in wines with distinct flavors and aromas that you won’t easily find elsewhere.
Islands are often isolated from the mainland and other wine-producing regions. This can lead to a unique genetic diversity of grape varieties grown on the island. Moreover, isolation can preserve traditional winemaking methods and foster a strong local winemaking culture.
Islands typically have a specific microclimate influenced by the surrounding sea. They often experience milder temperatures, higher humidity, and greater exposure to sea breezes. These factors can benefit winemaking by providing a longer ripening period, better acidity, and more complex flavor profiles in the resulting wines.
Exclusivity and Rarity
Due to limited vineyard areas on islands, the production of island wines can be restricted. This scarcity can drive up demand and make these wines more exclusive and rare, contributing to their special status.
Islands are often known for their breathtaking landscapes, picturesque vineyards, and wineries. Visiting a winery on an island can offer a unique tourist experience, allowing you to combine wine production with the enjoyment of the scenery, local culture, and gastronomy.
It’s important to note that not all island wines are automatically exceptional. The ultimate quality of the wine depends on various factors, including the winery, grape varieties used, winemaking methods, and the winemaker’s skills.
My favorite island wines
Recently, I visited Domaine Terra Vecchia in Corsica. I fell in love with the local Vermentinu wines here, and my favorite is the Clos Poggiale AOP. It’s a complex wine with aromas of tropical fruit and citrus, and a lovely oily texture from aging sur lie. It pairs wonderfully with the island’s rich seafood dishes.
Here you can read more about Domaine Terra Vecchia.
Sicily never fails to capture my heart. One of my favorite wineries on the island is Di Giovanna Wines. With a rich tradition and history, their grapes grow at impressive heights. Grillo is Sicily’s signature white grape, and Helios Grillo is truly exceptional. A floral wine with tropical notes and a beautiful saline touch. Part of the wine undergoes oak aging, adding complexity and body. You can order a delightful Grillo from Vinify.
Santorini might be the most extraordinary wine island I’ve visited. Volcanic soils, vines growing in baskets on the ground, the relentless sea breeze. My favorite is the wild ferment from Gaia Wines. It’s a mineral-driven wine with hints of honey, citrus, and flowers. Perfect with tempura, hearty salads, and grilled prawns.
Want to learn more about this wine? Read this article about Assyrtiko