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A Wine From Bodegas Monje


The Canary Islands are an archipelago of 13 islands located 100 km west of Morocco.  Tenerife is the largest, most populous, and tallest of the islands.  It is on this island within sight of both the Atlantic Ocean and the volcano El Tiede that you may find Bodegas Monje.

The Winery, Image from Bodegas Monje

The Winery, Image from Bodegas Monje

Bodegas Monje has its origins back in 1956 when Miguel Monje inherited a small parcel of vines.  Vineyards and wine were not new to Miguel as he was the fourth generation of Monje’s to produce wine since 1750.  Over the years he purchased surrounding vineyards such that today his son Felipe Monje produces wine from some 17 hectares.  The winery was modernized in 1983.

1986 Vintage Labe, Image from Jose Pastor Selections

1986 Vintage Labe, Image from Jose Pastor Selections

The vineyards are located in northeastern Tenerife in the Tacoronte-Acentejo Denominacion de Origen (DO).  It is here in the 17th century that these fertile slopes were terraced to for the vineyards which produced immensely popular wines.  Tacoronte-Acentejo was the first DO in the Canary Islands having been granted status in 1992.  In the span of 20 years the DO has grown from 10 bodegas and 523 hectares of vineyards to 46 Bodegas and some 2400 hectares of vineyards.  This makes Bodegas Monje one of the oldest wineries and among the first to bottle their own wine.

Listan Negro Vineyard, Image from Bodegas Monje

Listan Negro Vineyard, Image from Bodegas Monje

The vineyards of Bodegas Monje are located in el Sauzal at an altitude of 500 meters just 2 km from the coast.  There are only a few pests in the vineyards such as Oidium, Mildew, and Botrytis.  The island has never experienced Phylloxera so the vines are ungrafted.  The vineyards are not plowed but the grass amongst the vines are cut.  It is used to control erosion.  The soils are fertile and rich in elements but low in pH so every year some calcium carbonate is added to raise the pH.  This assists the vines in taking in nutrients.   Due to the terrain the vineyards are tended and harvested by hand.  The vineyards are planted with Listan Negro, Listan Blanco, and Negramoll along with other varietals.  Sometimes the varietals are mixed in the vineyards.

Harvest of Listan Negro and Listan Blanco, Image from Bodegas Monje

Harvest of Listan Negro and Listan Blanco, Image from Bodegas Monje

Both Jenn and I rather liked this wine.  I was made curious by the vintage perfume nose then delighted by the flavors of black fruit and minerals.  It really does taste of volcanic origins!  Though there is structure and balance for short-term aging I would not hesitate to drink this wine now.  I would like to thank Felipe Monje of Bodegas Monje for answering my various questions and providing images for me to use.  This wine is available at Chambers Street Wine.

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2009 Bodegas Monje, Tradicional, Tinto, Tacoronte-Acentejo – $22
Imported by Jose Pastor Selections.  This wine is a blend of 85% Listan Negro, 10% Listan Blanco, and 5% Negramoll.  The different varietals are pressed and fermented together.  A combination of stainless steel and old barrels are used. Alcohol 13%.  The nose is light+ with interesting aromas of vintage floral perfume.  In the mouth the wine is a touch racy with weight to the ripe, savory black fruit.  There are minerals, lots of almost-juicy black fruit, and fine ripe tannins which are a touch delicate.  There is cool acidity which mixes well with the black fruit.  A subtle drying structure comes out in the aftertaste.  *** Now-2017.

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