Suertes del Marques Valle de la Orotava La Solana 2010

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The Canary Islands are making some of my favourites wines in Spain, with an increasing number of producers that are taking advantage of the island chain’s ancient, ungrafted indigenous vines to make some seriously unique and delicious juice. The wines also tend to be a comparative bargain.

Century-Vines and Volcanic Soils

Suertes del Marques is located on the island of Teneriffe. Though founded in 2006, they own 9 hectares of vineyards, divided into 21 plots, with vines around 100 years old and make a range of single vineyard white and red wines from indigenous grapes.

The philosophy is minimal intervention farming and natural yeast ferments. This particular wine is made from 100 year old ungrafted Listan Negro grown using the local ‘el cordon trenzado’ method in a vineyard situated 400-520m above sea level (which you can see from the vineyard). The volcanic soils undoubtedly add a lot of character and nuance to the wine and, reportedly, increased acidity that keeps these wines fresh. The Listan Negro grapes are cold macerated in steel tanks and then fermented and aged in 90% neutral and 10% new or 1 year old French oak casks.

Terroir Wine

The La Solana is terroir wine. Its bouquet of spices makes me think of the old Venetian spice route – it is totally unique and screams of place. The wine is spice. The bright cherry fruit and subtle savory and bitter tones make this wine feel Italian, and it could easily blend in to a blind of southern Italian reds. It is also elegant and sports its oak as shading rather than makeup.

In sum, this is one of the most exciting reds I’ve had this year. Reportedly the whites are also remarkable. If these wines were imported into B.C. I’d be a very happy camper.

el cordon trenzado (the braided cord)

$27 at Liner and Elsen and Highly Recommended Value


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