2017 Suertes del Marques ‘Trenzado’ Valle de la Orotava
Region: Tenerife < Canary Islands < Spain
Grapes: Listan Blanco
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: organic farming; volcanic soils; grapes come from several different plots of very old vines (100+ years) at 250-800 meters above sea level, many ungrafted; vines are cordon trenzado (braided arms); fermented in concrete tank then ages for 9 months in 500 liter used French oak foudres; bottled unfined/unfiltered with minimal added So2; 12% ABV
Winemaker: Jonatan Garcia Lima
The Canary Islands, located off the coast of Morocco, are technically part of Spain. The largest of the Canaries, Tenerife, is dominated by El Teide, a volcano that is the highest peak in Spain, and whose steep slopes are home to sturdy vines on all sides. The area escaped the blight of Phylloxera, so the vines are own rooted and extremely old – some more than 200 years! Many of the vines are trained according to a traditional method called Cordon Trenzado where the vines spread out in long braids of wood, some up to 15-20 feet from the mother trunk -- because they don't have a true winter, this forces the wines into dormancy for part of the year. All of this extreme viticulture makes for some crazy cool wine, like this Listan Blanco from the small, family-run Suertes del Marques, that smells like pristine white Burgundy, and tastes sort of like that, with the green apple and peppery minerality. Only this is smokier and saltier, as if the Chardonnay were planted on volcanic soil and getting a nice drenching of salt spray daily. There is texture and grippy acid and gravitas, reminding you that this wine is special, but the finish is joyful – like the sensation of sea spray hitting your face on a fast boat. Wheeeee!