Tonight, join us and Bethany Kacich from importer David Bowler, to taste five uncommon wines from one of Spain’s most dynamic and unexpected wine growing regions, the Canary Islands. We’ll taste a range of wines made from rare grapes such as marmajuelo and baboso negro, all organically farmed and made with honesty and integrity.
The Canary Islands were formed 11 million years ago by a volcanic eruption from the Atlantic sea floor. 11 million years is a long time for humans but for the earth, it’s fairly recent history, and the signs of prehistoric volcanism are visible everywhere here. It’s hard to imagine anything growing on what, to an outsider, appears to be a foreboding black basaltic landscape that is as hostile to life as that of the moon, and yet Canarians, as desperate as anyone for a drop of wine, have cultivated grape vines for centuries. The tradition on the Canaries is to dig out what amount to fox holes for each head-trained vine, sometimes supplemented with a small berm of rocks, to protect the vines from the relentless winds blowing west from Africa. The result is otherworldly vineyards that look like something cooked up by the fevered imagination of an adolescent science fiction aficionado. Complicating matters even further, the geographical and social isolation of these islands, lying hundreds of miles south of the Iberian Peninsula, means that you will find antique grape varieties there that originated on the mainland some time ago but are today extinct, save for plantations on the Canaries. All of this wouldn’t matter one whit if the wines were mere historic curiosities, but the wines are vivid and distinctive, with some growers pushing the edge of the envelope with what to expect from forsaken viticultural regions.
Bermejos Rosado 2015 Tenerife
Ignios Orígenes Marmajuelo 2014 Tenerife
Frontón de Oro Tinto 2014 Gran Canaria
Ignios Orígenes Baboso Negro 2013 Tenerife
Ignios Orígenes Listán Negro 2013 Tenerife