Posts Tagged ‘Canary Islands’

A Canary Island delight: 2016 7 Fuentes, Valle de la Orotava, Tenerife

October 16, 2018 1 comment

The 2016 Suertes del Marques, 7 Fuentes, Valle de la Orotava, Tenerife  is a fine wine whose light color is reflected in the lightweight body but not in the amount of flavor it delivers.  The lighter weight body, ethereal ripeness, and lively acidity remind me of an old-school style of wine that I particularly enjoy.  It drinks well now but should improve over the next year.  I recommend you grab a bottle or two from MacArthur Beverages.

2016 Suertes del Marques, 7 Fuentes, Valle de la Orotava, Tenerife – $20
Imported by European Cellars.  This wine is mostly Listan Negro with a small amount of Tintilla fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel vats and concrete vats.  It was aged in French oak demi-muids and concrete.  Alcohol 13%.  A light to medium cranberry ruby color. Lifted on the nose. Round yet lightweight body with almost lively acidity that zips through the middle of the wine. It develops surprising ethereal ripeness with notes of stone and tartness on the sides of the tongue.  A satisfying glass of wine!  ***(*) Now – 2022.

Tenerife and Ribeira Sacra from Envinate

July 2, 2018 1 comment

There are some rather interesting wines produced by Envinte and of the most recent vintage I particularly like the 2016 Envinate, Lousas, Vinas de aldea, Ribeira Sacra.  It needs air to come into balance but then there is a tension between the high-toned, acidic flavors and the oily, ripe citrus fruit.  Cool stuff.  I could not coax the same complexity out of the 2016 Envinate, Taganan, Parcela Margalagua, Tenerife.  I often feel these Tenerife wines need short-term aging and that is my impression of this wine.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2016 Envinate, Taganan, Parcela Margalagua, Tenerife – $28
Imported by Llaurador Wines.  A field-blend of Listan Negro, Listan Prieto, Baboso, Negramoll, Malvasia Negra, and more from 100+ year old vines.  Alcohol 12.5%.  Brighter, lighter, tarter, with dry tangy middle and watering acidity.  Finishes with fresh tannic service.  Needs time.  ** 2020-2025.

2016 Envinate, Lousas, Vinas de aldea, Ribeira Sacra – $32
Imported by Llaurador Wines.  This wine is 100% Mencia sourced from 60 year old vines.  Alcohol 12.5%.  High-toned and yeasty flavors to start but by the middle a gentle ripeness spreads through the mouth with an old leather note by the finish.  The acidity is almost sharp but with air the oily, ripeness contains it, bringing balance to the orange citrus and dry floral flavors.  Needs some air to show best.  *** Now – 2020.

Another interesting Canary Island wine from Envinate

The 2015 Envinate, Taganan Tino, Tenerife, Vinos Atlanticos requires being open at least one day ahead.  It is made from very old vines of both known and unknown varieties grown in parcels tended by 15 different families!  These are wild vineyards, literally, with no training and vines popping out between rocks.  There are some compelling parts to this wine: the incensed fruit, mineral middle, and aftertaste which clings to your mouth.  At this stage you must coax the wine in your mouth so I recommend you cellar it for another year or two.  If this wine blossoms then it will desire higher marks.  The Taganan is available at MacArthur Beverages.

2015 Envinate, Taganan Tino, Tenerife, Vinos Atlanticos – $28
A Jose Pastor selection imported Llaurador Wines. This is a blend of Listan Negro, Listan Gaucho, Malvasia Negro, and other varieties from very old vines.  It was fermented with indigenous yeasts in plastic tubs and and concrete tanks then aged for 8 months in both tanks and used oak barrels.  Alcohol 13%.  After extended air a subtle depth comes out on the nose.  In the mouth are bright, incensed fruit flavors followed by a mineral middle of perfumed black fruit.  The flavors become savory towards the end as the structure of very fine drying tannins is soon matched by dry flavor.  The structure is supportive.  The aftertaste brings good, clinging flavors of delicate ripe fruit.  *** 2019-2025.

A Canary Island wine for the cellar

I continue to enjoy the Envinate wines selected by Jose Pastor which are available in the Washington, DC, area.  From the same portfolio Phil recently brought in the 2015 Dolores Cabrera Fernandez, La Araucaria, Valle de le Orotava, Tenerife.  I tried this bottle over the course of two days and I will admit it is a bit shutdown, making it hard to drink. I do like the tangy red flavor and unique profile of the wine but it is best revisited some time next year. This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

2015 Dolores Cabrera Fernandez, La Araucaria, Valle de le Orotava, Tenerife – $20
A Jose Pastor selection imported by Llaurador Wines.  This wine is Listan Negro.  Alcohol 11% – 14%.  It is a grapey, cherry color in the glass.  Tasted over two days the flavors offer up wood notes mixed with tangy red fruit.  The tang is very much present on the tongue tip with the structure apparent throughout at this stage.  It finishes a bit astringent.  It comes across as closed at this point so maybe give it another year before trying again. ** 2018-2022.

A cool wine from the Canary Islands

This bottle of 2015 Viticultores Emilio Ramirez y Envinate, Benje, Canary Islands flat out surprised me.  On the first night it is certainly light bodied, a bit thin on flavor, and somewhat frail.  Though there is enough earthiness and tightness that I recorked the bottle.  Over the course of the second night the wine transformed.  Jenn succinctly described it as a wine of pepper on the nose and potpourri in the mouth.  There is more though, it is a gentle wine that develops a moderate amount of body, appropriate ripeness, and never loses a sense of its volcanic origins.   It is actually quite good and I would not be surprised if it is drinking really well by the end of the year.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

2015 Viticultores Emilio Ramirez y Envinate, Benje, Canary Islands – $20
A Jose Pastor Selections imported by Llaurador Wines.  This is a blend of high-altitude 70-120 year-old Listan Prieto with some Tintilla that was foot trodden, fermented in concrete and tubs with indigenous yeasts then aged 8 months in neutral oak barrels.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The nose smells of black and white pepper with some dried floral notes.  In the mouth this light bodied wine begins with red fruit flavors, a little cranberry, with some ethereal ripeness by the finish.  With extended air it develops more weight by the middle with a rather substantial amount of tartness, minerality, and ripe texture.  More importantly the old-school potpourri flavor weave its way from start to finish.  ***(*) Now – 2022.

Two More Wines from the Canary Islands

January 3, 2013 2 comments

The Canary Islands suffered a devastating blow from Oidium but the wine industry began to recover by the very end of the 19th century.  In 1893 The Encyclopaedia Britannica found that the islands of Gran Canaria and Tenerife had returned to commercial levels of wine productions.  Whereas the wine of Gran Canaria were made similar to that of Madeira those of Tenerife “adhere more to the methods in vogue in Spain.”  This post features two more wines from Gran Canaria and Tenerife.  The Fronton de Oro winery is located on the island of Gran Canaria.  Bodegas Vinatigo, while located on Tenerife, is from the Ycoden-Daute-Isora Denominacion de Origen located in the north-west part of the island.  This is a very hot part of the island.  Both of these wines feature Listan Negro in the cepage which was aged for several months in barrel.  I really liked the Fronton de Oro for its minerally black fruit.  The Bodegas Vinatigo is completely different with ample tart red fruit but does not have the same depth of flavor.   The Fronton de Oro is available at Chambers Street Wine and the Bodegas Vinatigo is available at Despana Vino y Mas.  All three wines I have tried up to this point cost between $22 – $27 per bottle.  This certainly reflects the additional cost of shipping the wine from the island to continental Europe.  While these are inherently more expensive wines it is certainly worth trying at least one selection.


2010 Fronton de Oro, Malpais, Gran Canaria – $27
Imported by Jose Pastor.  This wine is a blend of Listan Negro and Tintilla aged four months in barrel.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The color is a rather light cherry garnet.  The light nose is elegant with raspberry and strawberry fruit, finely textured, and with a little pepper aroma.  In the mouth there is black cherry fruit, beautiful fresh acidity, and perhaps a touch of bacon.  With air it puts on some density and reveals minerally black fruit and ripe tannins.  *** Now-2016.


2010 Bodegas Vinatigo, Tinto, Ycoden-Daute-Isora – $23
Imported by Jose Pastor.  This wine is 100% Listan Negro which was aged for six months in French and American oak barrels.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The color is a light ruby garnet.  The light ot medium strength nose is of tart, red fruit which is a little pungent and vegetal.  In the mouth the tart fruit immediately stands on the tongue tip and is almost tangy.  Then there is more tart, red fruit, floral pastilles, and a savory aspect.  There are minimal tannins, lots of acidity, and more expansive flavors in the finish.  Unique in a good way.  ** Now.


A Wine From Bodegas Monje

December 29, 2012 Leave a comment

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.


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.