Late last year, when I discovered the World Wine Travel group of writers and bloggers would focus 2021 on Spain, I found several wines to fit the chosen monthly themes. The bottle waiting the longest is from small producer Suertes del Marqués in Tenerife, the most populous of the Spanish Canary Islands. I share it with you today as we wrap up the year with a ‘free choice’ and hope it will rock your jingle bells.
Tenerife is high on the list of the most obscure wine producing regions. You might never have seen or tasted a Tenerife wine, yet they’re out there! Most of the Canary Island vines are located in Tenerife, which has five appellations and a variety of meso-climates:
Northern part of the island
- Ycoden Daute Izora
- Valle de la Orotava
- Valle de Güímar
Producer Suertes del Marqués works 11 hectares of their own vineyards ranging from 300 to 750 meters (985 to 2,460 feet) above sea level, all with different orientations and soil composition. Another 15 hectares are worked with other Tenerife vine growers with altitudes between 250-800 meters (820-2,600 feet).
Phylloxera never hit the islands, thus Suertes del Marqués has centarian ungrafted vines. Very cool don’t you think?!?
Medianías 2018 – D.O. Valle de la Orotava
This wine, made from one hundred percent Listan Negro grapes, is from vines grow on volcanic ash soils located in the foothills of the extinct Teide volcano. These volcanic soils are prevalent on the island, especially in this northern valley.
Medianías translates to midlands, referring to the altitude of the 80-year-old vines at 600 meters (1,968 feet).
This is just one of several ancient and native vines owner Jonatan García Lima works with. He is a ‘…firm advocate of respectful viticulture methods and the conservation of Tenerife’s rich wine heritage and its native varieties’. (source)
In fact, Listan Negro and Listan Blanco (aka Palomino Fino, the main grape to make sherry) are the principal island grapes. Others García Lima works with are Albillo Criollo, Gual (aka Boal), Marmajuelo, Malvasia, Pedro Ximenez, Tintilla (aka Trousseau), Vijariego, Negro (aka Sumoll), and Baboso Negro (Alfrocheiro in Portugal).
“In Suertes del Marqués we artificially interfere as little as possible in the production of our wines, so we work with indigenous yeasts, avoid racking and using only minimal amounts of sulfur in our wines.
All processes in the cellar are carried out by hand, from works in the vineyard to harvest. We avoid any systemic treatments in the vineyard, using only natural products when vine diseases eventually arise.” (from Suertes des Marqués website)
This was our first time tasting 100% Listan Negro.
The wine poured medium-ruby and starts with funky and wild aromas (perhaps a tad reduced). Smoky, earthy, balsamic-coated leather aromas dissipate quickly revealing a boatload of boysenberries, (Mark got mulberry), black plum, cocoa nibs, and damp earth. The first sip is wake you up fresh with a burst of boysenberry too. This slides into fine-grained tannins and a medium-body showcasing the fruit, cocoa nibs and white pepper notes, then finally trailing into a lengthy and rich finish.
It reminded me of the fruitiness of Beaujolais and the sophistication of some Northern Rhône Syrah wines. Overall quite bright, rich and elegant, and drinking brilliantly now. (Available in the U.S. and other places around the world in small quantities.)
I paired this with an earthy dish of roasted radicchio with garlicky lemon beans. Radicchio, bitter when eaten raw, takes on a smoky sweetness when roasted. The addition of carrot and lemon juice when cooking the cannellini beans with garlic and oregano enhances the brightness of the dish, framing the earthy and savory beans and toning down the wine’s acidity. A sprinkling of Parmigiano Reggiano and extra virgin olive oil amped up the overall flavor and pairing- really super!
You’ll find the recipe (that I adapted) in Kate Leahy’s book Wine Style, one of my new favorites.
This wine definitely rocked our jingle bells and made the lead up to our holiday a bit brighter. Mark and I wish you all happy and merry holidays, however you choose to celebrate!
Wrapping Up #WorldWineTravel
I hope you will partake in more reading and enjoy other group member wrap-ups as follows:
- Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm is getting in the spirit with Merry Christmas; Let’s Celebrate with Cava.
- Linda from My Full Wine Glass is Revisiting Tried and True Rioja.
- Terri from Our Good Life shares “5 Great Wines from Spain Perfect for Gift Giving”
- Jeff from Food Wine Click! is confessing Shh! Cream Sherry is My Guilty Pleasure.
- Martin from ENOFYLZ Wine Blog is Commemorating Setbacks and Success with Bodegas Tradición Palo Cortado VORS.
- Gwendolyn from Wine Predator…Gwendolyn Alley shares “5 Garnacha from Spain with Spicy Spanish Pairings”
- Lynn from Savor the Harvest is Ending the Year with Wine Family Suertes del Marqués in Teneri.
- Nicole from Somm’s Table — “Re-introducing Cava!”
- Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla pairs Mushroom Soup with Manzanilla Sherry.
- Deanna from Wineiovore posts Albarino From Monterrei vs. Monterey + Monterey Bay Cioppino.
- Susannah from Avvinare matches Villa Conchi Cava + Paella to Celebrate the Holidays.
- David from Cooking Chat paires “Steak with Carrot Top Chimichurri and Spanish Wine”
Tenerif- jeez I never would have known wine was made on this island. Amazing how many places it is made that you don’t hear about, at least the average wine consumer. Because of my curiosity I will look for this specific bottle as now I want to taste this new to me grape too!
It always amazes me too Eileen. Would love to hear if you’re able to satiate your Tenerif curiosity on this one!
Interesting to learn about wine from a previously unknown locality. Volcanic soils does it again! Happy holidays!
Isn’t it though?!? Thanks Karen, hope you two are able to find this really fantastic wine!
“Centarian ungrafted vines” – wow! Have never heard of Tenerif Island or Listan Negro grapes, but better believe I’m 100% curious now, especially after reading your ringing endorsement! I have a kind of thing for islands, too, so yet another reason to hunt down this wine. Will be making that dish, too. Many thanks and Happy New Year!
I understand the Canary Islands are amazing to visit. Glad to share something new for you, thanks Linda!
Thanks for the introduction to both Tenerif and this wine. I don’t recall having a wine from Listan Negro. It’s very cool you got to taste this one (which sounds terrific). It sound like a lovely pairing too!
Congratulation on earning the CSWS Certification with HH! Well done!
This is one to find Martin (like the Palo Cortado you shared). Thanks!
I wonder how they do it at that latitude? I’ve not had any wines from the Canary Islands, guess I need to rectify that!
Great question Jeff, I wondered as well. I read that the hilly landscape, especially closer to Teide creates abundant microclimates. And the Gulf Stream moderates the warmth and has a slight drying effect.
Since posting this, I’ve had a few folks pop up to tell me I landed on a winner with Suertes de Marqués so if you’re looking to rectify… just saying!
Ooh I am just loving those juicy and descriptive tasting notes. And is that a vegetarian dish I’m jealously eying? Cooked radicchio warms my heart and pairing it with beans sounds divine. And with a rare, interesting Canary Islands wine? Dying over here!
Good eye! It’s a deeply satisfying savory dish that if you like this kind of thing, I highly recommend with this very interesting wine!
We actually stopped in Tenerif long before AdVINEtures existed and still remember the vines in volcanic soil. I can’t even remember the winery we stopped at for lunch (post-hike down a crater) but do recall how unique the conditions were. We have yet to taste a wine from there since so time to revisit (particularly if it rocks our jingle bells 😉 !
And now I know who to ask about tips when we plan our trip
And now I know who to ask for tips when we plan our trip!