Canary Islands, january 2014
When you travel to the Canary Islands, you think of the obvious: good subtropical climate, beaches, beautiful volcanic landscapes and other popular topics, and if not to say so to the millions of European tourists who spend the harsh winter months on these lucky islands lying in a hammock in the sun.
No one would say (except the most experienced amateurs and connoisseurs of the world of wine) that in this remote archipelago, geographically located in Africa, there is a very particular and interesting production of wines on each of its main islands, being even and despite its small size surprisingly one of the Spanish Communities with the most Denominations of Origin, with about 11.
Its insular character, trade winds and the peculiarity of the volcanic terrain give the Canarian wines unique characteristics that begin with the type of grape varieties that are mainly cultivated and exploited on these islands.
While it is true that we can find both red and white wines in the Canary Islands, it is the whites that mainly concentrate the production, being this variety of Canarian wines that has gained the most prestige and recognition internationally.
Among the white wines that are cultivated throughout the Canary archipelago, those from the island of Lanzarote (D.O. Lanzarote) are the most famous and recognized; it is not for nothing that the island is the pioneer in this area of the wine industry with the appearance already by the year 1775 of the Bodegas El Grifo (one of the 10 oldest wineries in Spain), among others.
During our stay from the 24th to the 31st of January, we were able to taste and taste different wines of which we will then pass on to give you our tasting impressions of those that, in our humble opinion, we have considered the most interesting and recommendable. Obviously, there is nothing written about “matter of taste” and the opinions we provide here are our own, so our best advice is that: everyone taste the wines and come to their own conclusions.
GETTING INTO THE MATTER.
As we said before, the Canarian white wines are special and different; a difference that is already evident in some of them in the same packaging and labelling, with bottles with a touch of colour and shapes that have nothing to do with the usual.
As a first rule to indicate that for young white wines their ideal drinking age should be one to three years at the most.
Seven (7) are the white wines we tasted, five (5) of them from the island of Lanzarote and two (2) from the island of Gran Canaria. As a common denominator, almost all the wines tasted (all of Lanzarote) are white wines produced 100% from the malvasía grape variety “malvasía volcanica”, all of them with an alcoholic strength of 13% and with a recommended serving temperature of between 8° and 10° C.
As for the pairing of these wines, the dried malvasias are magnificent to accompany any dish of seafood, fish, white meats and rice or pasta à la marinera (paella, noodles). As for the semi-sweet malvasia, these go well with all kinds of cheeses (goat, cow, sheep), foie pâtés and desserts.
EL GRIFO dry malvasia D.O. Lanzarote. Price: €9.75
Variety: 100% volcanic malvasia. (Dry White)
Tasting notes: Very clean and bright wine of a pale straw yellow colour, with accentuated fruity aromas of peach and some floral notes similar to jasmine. In the mouth it is a very tasty wine, fresh and light, with a very good and smooth start. Surprising, as a counterpart, its wide and sustained ending, lengthening the sensations it produces.
To conclude, we are dealing with a wine with a fantastic value for money and that has won numerous awards in numerous international wine competitions.
YAIZA dry malvasia D.O. Lanzarote. Price €11.95
Variety: 100% volcanic malvasia. (Dry White)
Tasting notes: Clean and crystalline wine of a pale yellow colour, with intense tropical fruit aromas and some floral nuance. In the mouth it goes very well being very soft on the palate and with very balanced taste sensations from start to finish.
Highlight the distinctive fact of its dark blue Rondavel bottle, which gives it, at first sight, a touch of originality. Finally, we should also say that we are talking about a wine that has won more than one prize in national and international wine competitions.
LA GERIA semi-sweet malvasia D.O. Lanzarote. Price €9.00
Variety 100% volcanic malvasia (Semi-sweet White)
Tasting notes: Wine, like all the others, clean and crystalline with an almond yellow colour and some golden touches, with aromas of tropical fruits such as pineapple and also some lemon. In the mouth it is a wine that enters soft, then turns out to be something oily or dense.
It should be noted that this wine has a slightly lower alcohol content than the others, namely 12.5%. As a final curiosity, the La Geria winery, close to the famous Timanfaya Park, is one of the most visited in Spain, with an average of 300,000 visitors a year.
BERMEJO dry malvasía D.O. Lanzarote. Price €10,50
Variety 100% volcanic malvasia (Dry White)
Tasting notes: Wine with an attractive greenish yellow colour that stands out in its original and slender bottle, labeled only on the neck. It is a wine with fruity aromas that throw nuances of lemon, peach and / or mango, to then give way to more subtle floral aromas. On the palate it starts with a smooth step, reaffirming tastefully the hints of lemon previously perceived, reaching a balanced finish, but perhaps a little short.
We find a wine with packaging made by one of the most prestigious wineries on the island of Lanzarote and without denying that we have among our glasses a good wine, this perhaps suffers, in our humble opinion, from a shorter finish, or, to put it in other words, drier and less tasty than that of some of the other wines we have tasted.
STRATUS dry malvasía D.O. Lanzarote. Price €17,00
Variety 100% volcanic malvasia (Dry White)
Tasting notes: Very clean wine of a straw yellow color with green and crystalline touches. It has pronounced, clean and elegant aromas of tropical fruits like mango and also some citrus like lemon. There is also some floral notes such as daisies or jasmine. Its mouthfeel is very refreshing and fruity, where it reminds us of those citrus aromas of lemon and maybe orange. Very balanced with a medium acidity and a finish with a very long persistence.
We are undoubtedly in the presence of a great wine, awarded with the Alimentos de España Award for the best wine in 2013. This high-quality wine, served at banquets and official receptions of the Royal House and the diplomatic corps to high-ranking officials and personalities, does not detract from its well-earned reputation, which is also reflected in its price, by far the most expensive of all.
LOS BERRAZALEZ dry malvasia-muscatel D.O. Gran Canaria. Price €8.00
Variety 50% malvasia and 50% muscatel (Dry White)
We have left for the end the two wines tasted from the Berrazalez winery, because here we find some wines that are not mono varietal, but a blend (coupage) in different proportions depending on the type of wine, the varieties of malvasía and muscatel.
Tasting notes: Wine of a straw yellow colour with some golden edge, clean and bright. Aromatic we find aromas of fruits like mango and finally white flowers like jasmine. In the mouth it has a balanced and pleasant pass, with a contained acidity and keeps gustatory touches to the tropical fruits that we have perceived in the olfactory phase.
LOS BERRAZALEZ muscatel-malvasía semi-sweet D.O. Gran Canaria. Price €8.00
Variety: 80% muscatel 20% malvasia (semi-sweet white)
Tasting notes: Wine of a slightly pale golden yellow colour, with some greenish touches, bright and dense. In the olfactory phase are perceived intense aromas reminiscent of fruits such as mango. In the mouth you can notice its good balance between its acidity and sweetness (sugar) and you can perceive some taste like dates.
This is the only wine that we have tasted that is more clearly different from the others, as it is made practically (80%) with the variety of muscat and not the predominant malvasia which in this wine is only 20%. Consequently it is a wine that for its sweet touch “moscatelado” is ideal to taste sweet desserts and / or strong cheeses such as goat cheese.
Of all the wines tasted and highlighted, in this section of white wines, there are three that we particularly liked: STRATUS, YAIZA and EL GRIFO.
The first (STRATUS) is a wine worthy of tasting and of great quality and elegance to the palate; we could say that it was the winner in the quality section, but as a counterpart its high price penalises it compared to the other two proposals. Thus, the choice of YAIZA is highly recommended for its high quality and the originality and exclusivity of its bottling. Finally, the proposal of EL GRIFO, we will say that it has been the winner in the section of quality / price ratio, finding a wine with fruity touches that, for less than €10,00, is very tasty and pleasant to consume.
FINAL RED WINE
We could not leave Gran Canaria without tasting some red wine of the island and as an icing to what is described here here you have the details of it.
LAS TIRAJANAS listan black-tintilla and vijariego D.O. Gran Canaria. Price €4.95
Variety: Black List, Black Vijariego and Tintilla
Alcohol volume: 12.5%
Tasting notes: We find a young red wine, coupage, which has been rested in American oak barrels for 2 and a half months. Its colour is an intense cherry red, medium layer and with a strong palate, with notes of mineral and red fruits, soft tannins and a balanced finish.
It should be noted that this is a very correct wine with a good palate that is pleasantly consumed and that goes very well with red meat dishes, cured cheeses and stewed dishes such as corns, fabada, potages, etc.
Arias & Ortiz