Spain Wine

Wines of the Canary Islands

Minerality, high acid, soft tannins and low alcohol are in vogue in the world of wine. Wines that are easy to drink, make you salivate and therefore drink more. Wines that allow you to finish the bottle the same evening they are opened. 

We can find this in Burgundy, Jura and also in the Canary Islands. 

These islands are quite unique. Their steep volcanic soils give deep mineral notes, like those of Etna or Santorini. They are also impervious to the phylloxera plague allowing ungrafted vines to reach centenary ages and produce luxuriously concentrated wines. The altitude and the cool Atlantic winds allow perfect ripeness and the preservation of acidity to balance it at these low latitudes. The proximity to the sea is such that some wines present clear saline notes.

The grape varieties found locally are mostly Listán Blanco (Palomino Fino), Listán Prieto (exported to America, known as País in Chile), Baboso Negro, Vijariego Negro, Negramoll (Tinta Negra). The reds have a tendency to develop meaty aromas as those of the northern Rhone. The whites are racy and intensely mineral.

Canarian wine has a long tradition, to the point of having been drunk by Shakespeare and George Washington. The latter even preferred it to beer. However, exports fell after the 18th century and consumption became mainly local. Most vineyards became family run and the harvest would be used to make house wines. Unfortunately, small vineyards in incredibly steep sites translates to a labour intensive job and, in the 21st century, this meant that many centenary plots were being abandoned. It is only thanks to the current wave of new winemakers that many sites have been rediscovered and saved. Our special mention goes to Envínate, Suertes del Marqués and Borja Pérez, who are now making wine of outstanding quality that has provoked excitement in the wine world.

We were especially impressed by Vidonia, Ignios Baboso Negro and Taganan ‘Parcela Margalagua’.

Tasting notes:

Envínate – Palo Blanco 2017
Nose:Nose of matchstick, gun flint and apples. Trendy reduction and minerality.
Palate:On the palate we find apple and lime with a chalky finish.
Structure:Full bodied, medium alcohol, high acid. Long finish.

Envínate – Benje 2016
Nose:Intense bouquet of crushed gravel, strawberry, licorice and herbs.
Palate:The palate reveals strawberry aromas and berries. Midpalate changes to crushed rocks and white pepper appears as the wine develops. Medium finish.
Structure:High acid, medium soft and velvety tannins, medium alcohol, medium body.

Suertes del Marqués – Cruz Santa 2018
Nose:Intense smell of cured meat, graphite and basalt. As it opens up, cranberries, cherry, dried flowers and black pepper are revealed.
Palate:The palate confirms the nose. Cranberries on attack and a herbal midpalate.
Structure:Medium alcohol, medium body, high acidity, high very fine grained tannins. Very elegant texture with a long finish.
Comments:First time tasting a Vijariego negro. We found it similar to a Nerello in structure. We enjoyed the balance between the fruit and meat aromas.

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