When holidaying with my mum in Tenerife, I decided to investigate whether much wine is produced out there. The answer was yes and throughout the holiday I managed to taste some really interesting and unique wines. Furthermore, I discovered that there is a wine tour that runs every week and so on Thursday morning, mum and I popped on the coach along with a few others.
Our first stop was Bodega El Lomo, in the Tegueste region, founded in 1989. They produce an average of 97,000 litres per year (they started with only 2000l!) 30% of their wine comes from their own grapes, and they also buy 70% from the same DO. The winery was modern and brilliantly constructed, using entirely vinification by gravity. On average their wines are 12-12.5% ABV, and the bodega produces joven red wine, barrel aged red wine, white wine and crianza. The fascinating thing about the wines of Tenerife is that they were never affected by phylloxera – all the wines are hence from pre-phylloxeric wines.
First we tasted their Blanco – made on 90% Listan Blanco and 10% Gual. It was fresh and fruity – sweeter than I had expected. Next was their red joven, a blend of Listan Negro, Negramoll and Listan Blanco. The winemaker explained to us that there are 21 varieties that are from Tenerife (I was so surprised – so many!) It was a delicious red for warm weather – almost a bit like a Beaujolais Nouveau, served slightly chilled with red fruit notes and strong aromas of pepper. Finally, we also tasted a 100% Merlot which was really interesting and complex on the nose with hints of plum and undergrowth. With the wine we also had a selection of yummy cheeses from Tenerife.
Next, we travelled to Bodega Monje, founded in 1956. Located in the Sauzal, the vineyards are 600 metres above sea level. There are 1500 vines per hectare and an average vine age of 50 years.
We ate a delcicious meal at the bodega – first we had a selection of spreads such as sausage and garlic and a butter with native spices. This was accompanied by the white “dragoblanco”; a white Listan Blanco vinified in stainless steel. It was light, fruity and fresh with good acidity. After a lovely vegetable soup, we had some of the best pork belly I’ve had in ages (aaaah the crackling!), with a red wine called “tradicional”. A blend of Listan Negro and Negramoll, it was very comparable to the red from Bodega El Lomo, with slightly more spiced notes and some tobacco hints from its 4 months spent in oak. Finally, we had a creamy pudding made of eggs and spices – it tasted a bit like pain d’epices (similar cinammon/nutmeggy flavours). With this we had tinto-monje, Monje’s young wine that is 100% Listan Negro and created using carbonic maceration (when whole grapes are fermented in a carbon dioxide rich environment before being crushed).
After a coffee we had a tour of the vineyard and its cellars and were shown their family collection of wine. It is a beautiful, traditional building with cellars of perfect ageing conditions.
Other wines I had the chance to taste while in Tenerife:
Vina Norte (Tacaronte Acentejo) – Tinto Joven – Listan Negro y Negramoll – a young wine with hints of cherry, raspberry and spices. Elegant tannins.
Brumas Dayosa (Valle de Guimar) – An unusual wine with a greatly perfumed nose focused on white flowers and especially camomile. In the mouth there are notes of tree sap, citrus fruits and honey with good freshness. Listan Blanco.
Flor de Chasna blanco afrutado – Pale yellow with green shimmers – a very pretty wine. A sweeter wine with specific notes of white peach, pineapple and even mango. Listan Blanco.