Volcanoes and Wine: From Pompeii to Napa

University of Chicago Press
Free sample

There’s a reason we pay top dollar for champagne and that bottles of wine from prestige vineyards cost as much as a car: a place’s distinct geographical attributes, known as terroir to wine buffs, determine the unique profile of a wine—and some rarer locales produce wines that are particularly coveted. In Volcanoes and Wine, geologist Charles Frankel introduces us to the volcanoes that are among the most dramatic and ideal landscapes for wine making.
Traveling across regions wellknown to wine lovers like Sicily, Oregon, and California, as well as the less familiar places, such as the Canary Islands, Frankel gives an in-depth account of famous volcanoes and the wines that spring from their idiosyncratic soils. From Santorini’s vineyards of rocky pumice dating back to a four-thousand-year-old eruption to grapes growing in craters dug in the earth of the Canary Islands, from Vesuvius’s famous Lacryma Christi to the ambitious new generation of wine growers reviving the traditional grapes of Mount Etna, Frankel takes us across the stunning and dangerous world of volcanic wines. He details each volcano’s most famous eruptions, the grapes that grow in its soils, and the people who make their homes on its slopes, adapting to an ever-menacing landscape. In addition to introducing the history and geology of these volcanoes, Frankel's book serves as a travel guide, offering a host of tips ranging from prominent vineyards to visit to scenic hikes in each location.
This illuminating guide will be indispensable for wine lovers looking to learn more about volcanic terroirs, as well as anyone curious about how cultural heritage can survive and thrive in the shadow of geological danger.
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About the author

Charles Frankel is a science writer and lecturer specializing in geology, volcanology, and terroir. He is the author of many books in French and English, including Land and Wine: The French Terroir, also published by the University of Chicago Press.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Nov 8, 2019
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Pages
224
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ISBN
9780226603582
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Language
English
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Genres
Cooking / Beverages / Alcoholic / Wine
Cooking / General
Nature / Earthquakes & Volcanoes
Science / Earth Sciences / Geology
Travel / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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For centuries, France has long been the world’s greatest wine-producing country. Its wines are the global gold standard, prized by collectors, and its winemaking regions each offer unique tasting experiences, from the spice of Bordeaux to the berry notes of the Loire Valley. Although grape variety, climate, and the skill of the winemaker are essential in making good wine, the foundation of a wine’s character is the soil in which its grapes are grown. Who could better guide us through the relationship between the French land and the wine than a geologist, someone who deeply understands the science behind the soil? Enter scientist Charles Frankel.

In Land and Wine, Frankel takes readers on a tour of the French winemaking regions to illustrate how the soil, underlying bedrock, relief, and microclimate shape the personality of a wine. The book’s twelve chapters each focus in depth on a different region, including the Loire Valley, Alsace, Burgundy, Champagne, Provence, the Rhône valley, and Bordeaux, to explore the full meaning of terroir. In this approachable guide, Frankel describes how Cabernet Franc takes on a completely different character depending on whether it is grown on gravel or limestone; how Sauvignon yields three different products in the hills of Sancerre when rooted in limestone, marl, or flint; how Pinot Noir will give radically different wines on a single hill in Burgundy as the vines progress upslope; and how the soil of each château in Bordeaux has a say in the blend ratios of Merlot and Cabernet-Sauvignon. Land and Wine provides a detailed understanding of the variety of French wine as well as a look at the geological history of France, complete with volcanic eruptions, a parade of dinosaurs, and a menagerie of evolution that has left its fossils flavoring the vineyards.

Both the uninitiated wine drinker and the confirmed oenophile will find much to savor in this fun guide that Frankel has spiked with anecdotes about winemakers and historic wine enthusiasts—revealing which kings, poets, and philosophers liked which wines best—while offering travel tips and itineraries for visiting the wineries today.
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