The wines of Tenerife!

Ok so let me tell you a bit about a loving subject of mine and my deep roots. I will spare the my story on wine as I have several posts on it in my blog. Instead, let me tell you a bit on the history and wineries of my beloved grandparents home of Tenerife.

My idea got a push from a story done on the founders of Evinate and their introduction to the wines of Tenerife in El Mundo newspaper of Madrid which I translated in a condense manner at best.

The absence of phylloxera has allowed to preserve more than 80 vine varieties, many of them endemic, nonexistent in other lands. That makes it possible to name the lucky wines. This is how Tenerife’s wine history begins. Interview with Roberto Santana does not stop responding by naming his colleagues Alfonso Torrente, Laura Ramos and José Ángel Martínez.  For Envínate the importance is not the years of the vineyard but the quality with which the vineyard is worked; The braided cord in La Orotava; the glasses in Vilaflor, in Güímar and in Santiago del Teide; the trellises in Ycoden; the low grapevines in Tacoronte; the free system (margullón) in Taganana … But the most important thing is that our vineyards are not born from the nursery, they are planted either from my neighbor or from the same vineyard, in this way the genetic material of each zone is the same for five centuries.

The first Canarian wine scored with 97 points in Robert Parker’s guide is Táganan parcel Margalagua 2017, The Táganan from the Margalagua plot is born in red basalt soils, it is an elegant, complex, saline, deep wine. In the limestone soils, more structured wines are born, elegant, with depth; in the vertical granite, longer than wide, with lower middle palate, direct; in basalt soils they are direct, fresh towards the end of the mouth and the wines of the sandy volcanic soil are … We have very young soils in Taganana: they are from two to three million years old. Maybe a Listán Negro grape because it is a well adapted variety and is the one that best expresses the soil in the Canary Islands and is the most widespread. More in Facebook: https://fr-fr.facebook.com/Www.envinate.es/

So what about the wines of Tenerife? Here is some info that I enjoy telling you as a proud Guanche of Tenerife! Well a bit of history I like:

For centuries the vine is also one of the main crops of the island. The vineyard came to Tenerife with the first Europeans in the 15C,more precisely in 1497, when  the Portuguese Fernando de Castro planted the first vineyard on the soil of Tenerife, attracted by the fertility of its volcanic soils. Little suspect then that their crops would be the beginning of a whole wine culture that remains today. In 1985, the first denomination of origin was born that is granted to the island, more specifically to the wines of Tacoronte-Acentejo, which drives the wine sector in Tenerife again and since then it has become an indispensable part of its agriculture. Here it is produce wines with aromas and special flavors that are the ideal companion for the dishes of Tenerife’s cuisine. It is a question of elaborations of great typicity, result of the volcanic and atlantic character of Tenerife. The Island has five distinct wine regions: Tacoronte-Acentejo, Ycoden-Daute-Isora, Valle de la Orotava, Valle de Güímar,  and Abona. In these areas, the rich volcanic soil in which the vines are grown gives them a special character and different nuances. A special mention deserves the wine made with the Malvasia grape. Its demand during the  16-17C was incessant on the part of Europe and the main royal houses of the continent tasted it with assiduity. Even William Shakespeare or Walter Scott talked about them in some of  their works.  And many others came to taste in addition to the latter two were  Herman Melville, Lord Byron or Robert Louis Stevenson; with him they surely celebrated the victories, and tried to drown their defeats, Captain James Cook, Admiral John Jervis and the navigator Horatio Nelson. There are historians who point out that Malvasia was raised in Tenerife and not in Madeira with which Benjamin Franklin offered the signing of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America.

In Tenerife you can find different ways of growing the vine depending on the region and the type of grape. In the region of Tacoronte-Acentejo, the low parcels (0.80 mts) prevails, supported by forklifts anchored to the ground. In the Valley of La Orotava, on the other hand, highlights the laborious braid or drag system. In the Ycoden-Daute-Isora region you can find several systems, such as trellis, irregular vase or low vine, and more recently trellis cultivation. In the south of the island by Guimar  the low parcels predominates supported on pitchforks in the perimeter of the plots, while in the higher areas (such as Vilaflor, in the county of Abona, or the Pelados de Güímar) can be found crops with vase driving .

One of the keys to the success of the Tenerife wines are the different native varieties of pre-phylloxera vine that are grown on the island, which can not be found in the rest of the country. Listán Blanco, Malvasía, Gual, Albillo Criollo, Vijariego, Moscatel, Marmajuelo and Verdello are the grapes used to make white wines, while the rosés and red wines come from the Listán Negro, Negramoll and Tintilla grapes. The Malvasía grape stands out in white. It is an especially aromatic berry, one of the oldest known, and which was already used in the past to make Canarian wines so appreciated in Europe. It is a different strain to the one elaborated in the rest of Spain or in Lanzarote and reaches in these latitudes all its quality and potential of expression. The Listán Negro variety, very resistant and vigorous, is recognized by its medium size and dark color clusters, produces aromatic and fruity wines of great typicity. The Negramoll grape is also very appreciated for transferring a velvety touch to the wines.

The first wines produced in Tenerife were white. Malvasia wine production was, for several centuries, the main economic engine of the island of Tenerife. Their quality and taste made them one of the most sought-after in the world, especially in Europe: In the Old Continent, these famous wines known as Canary Sack were highly valued. Especially appreciated are the dry whites made with white varieties Listan Blanco, Albillo, Verdello etc. and even Malvasia, as well as mono-varietals either in mixture or blend  between them. Although the rosé wines of Tenerife enjoy a careful production, this is less than in the case of white and red wines.

White wines are the star of the wine production of the Valle de Güímar Designation of Origin, since they account for 80% of the production. Its color presents tones between pale yellow and straw, even golden, and is characterized by a fresh and fruity taste. The aroma of these white wines is medium intensity, with touches of fruit and fresh grass. Rosé wines are highly appreciated for their aroma of red fruits, while red wines are recognized for their earthy notes. Other varieties are the sweet wine, with hints of honey; sparkling wines with a very fine bubble and persistent crown, slightly acidic; and needle wines with notes of nuts and slightly spicy. The Valley of Güímar Designation of Origin covers the municipalities of: Arafo Candelaria and Güímar. My family background from grandparents and older generations! The denominations of origin are the best wines from the regions of Abona, Tacoronte-Acentejo, Valle de Güímar, Valle de La Orotava and Ycoden-Daute-Isora holding this distinction. They benefit from the richness of the volcanic soils of Tenerife, the excellent Atlantic climate of the island and the care and professionalism with which they are made.

Some of my best Bodegas and wines from my Tenerife are:

Bodegas Monje (the best) try their Listan Negro or Dragoblanco Seco (dry). The winery occupies 17 hectares of a beautiful estate of stony but very rich soil, fruit of the volcanic action and its strains grow on the slope of a hill facing the Atlantic Ocean, so that its grapes directly receive the sea breeze and the rays of the Sun almost permanently creating a perfect microclimate for the maturation of the strains. Visiting Bodegas Monje is an unforgettable experience because, in addition to producing magnificent wines, its structure responds to this cultural concept in the broadest sense of the word. Along with large stainless steel tanks where they ferment the wines, other artistic manifestations coexist in full harmony with the wine. More than 60 barrels of American and French oak, some with more than 200 years, alternate with scenic spaces where poetry, literature, theater or music are part of the life of the winery. There is also a fine restaurant and combi of tapas and glass of wines for tastings. More info here:Bodegas Monje

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Comarcal de Guimar or  Sociedad Agrícola de Viticultores or  Agricultural Society of Viticulturists created in 1989. The winery was built in 1993 and a year later the Brumas de Ayosa and Pico Chomarcial brands were created, with a range of dry and simian, pink and red whites. The surface of the vineyards is more than 1,500 hectares, located between 200 and 1,500 meters high. Its excellent Sparkling Wines stand out. More info here:  http://bodegavalledeguimar.com/

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Bodegas Insulares de Tenerife.  The winery has 660 viticultural partners from the Tacoronte-Acentejo region. The red wines or Tintos are made with the Canarian varieties Listán Negro (95%) and Negramoll (5%) The whites: the harvest is done since the end of August. They are made with the Listán Blanco variety, with soft pressing of the whole clusters. The rosés are made with the Listán Negro variety. After six hours of cold maceration, a gentle pressing is carried out. More info here: http://www.bodegasinsulares.es/

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Some further webpages to help you understand further and enjoy the wines of Tenerife are:

Casa del Vino or house of wine in Tenerife

Guia Repsol guide on the wines of Tenerife

Photos from their respective webpages. There you go ,hope you now have a grasp of the wonderful world of the Canary Islands as view from a wine enthusiast and local point of view. Enjoy the wines of Tenerife!

And remember ,happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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