volcanic islands - Wine & Spirits Magazine

volcanic islands

Islands speak of summer. Whether you head to Cape Breton in the North Atlantic or Easter Island in the South Pacific, the cliffs and beaches are a magnet for summer travelers.

Volcanic islands speak of wine. Vines will grow on volcanic ash where few other plants can be cultivated, so you find a distinctive array of varieties growing on Sicily, on Santorini in Greece and on Spain’s Canary Islands off the coast of West Africa. José Pastor, who ships an eclectic range of Spanish wines to the US, was the first to introduce the new generation of Canary Islands wines here. Others have expanded the offerings, bringing in varieties that may be new to even the geekiest of wine drinkers. No matter their obscurity, these ancient vines are producing some of the most compelling Spanish wine on the market. Fascinated by their unusual terroir expressions and delicious flavors, Patricio Tapia ventured to these remote vineyards to meet with the people driving their renaissance.

Walter Speller was taken by a different renaissance, that of Mamertino, a Sicilian wine famed in Roman times that is just now making a comeback. Speller traveled to the far northeastern tip of Sicily to investigate the variety behind the best of the new Mamertino, the obscure red nocera.

The island kingdom of Venice is about canals rather than beaches, and about delicate sea creatures from the lagoon more than vineyards. But the wine culture in the restaurants of Venice is distinctly its own, as Marisa Huff reports. She shares five of the best places to enjoy the food and wine of Venice.

Meanwhile, closer to home, Tara Q. Thomas spent a day with chef Anthony Chittum at Iron Gate in DC. Chittum married into a family from the Greek island of Santorini, via Syros; a native of the Chesapeake Bay island of Kent, Chittum has found a way to transform the spirit of Greek island fare into a menu based on local produce, fish and meats.

Welcome to our island issue. Grab a sparkler to pour with one of the easy snack recipes on page 30 and settle in for some great summer reading.

This story appears in the print issue of August 2015.
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