2014 Frontón de Oro Gran Canaria Tinto
Region: Gran Canaria < Canary Islands < Spain
Grapes: Listan Negro, Tintilla
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organicfarming; ungrafted vines; aged 3 months in used barrels; unfined/unfiltered; low added SO2
The Canary Islands, an improbable archipelago of Spain situated about 60 miles off the southwest coast of Morocco, is geographically and geologically closer to Africa. There, on a scattering of isolated volcanic islands, are local grapes that have never known phylloxera, the ravenous aphid that almost destroyed Europe’s grapevines in the late 19th century. So here on the Canaries vines can be planted on their own roots, which, combined with the islands’ unique grapes, high-elevation vineyards and dramatic volcanic soils, makes for extremely distinctive and delicious wines. In colonial times, Canary Island wines were all the rage – reportedly even Thomas Jefferson was a big fan. This Tinto, a blend of Tintilla and Listan Negro, is fresh and medium-bodied and reminiscent of a good Loire red. You get intriguing aromas (floral, pepper, rosewater and forest floor?) but the palate is solid, rustic, dark and mineral with baking spice and dried herb notes. While island wines usually scream summer for me, this baby whispers autumn. An excellent partner for butternut squash soup, mushroom lasagna, or even just a burger.