In May of 2022 wine school founder Jimmy Smith travelled to the beautiful volcanic Canary Islands in search of his top drops from the Atlantic archipelago. After spending multiple days travelling through Tenerife and Gran Canaria meeting various enthusiastic producers, Jimmy has finalised his favourite eight wines that express the fantastic diversity radiating from these islands. He will share the fascinating history (there is a reason why we call it Canary Wharf in London... ), the volcanic geology, geography and topography (including Spain’s highest peak), climate (often called the most perfect climate in the world), grapegrowing (the most wonderful cordon trenzado) and winemaking. He’ll also happily share his favourite wines from a range of producers spanning varieties such as Listan Blanco and Nergo, Gual, Baboso Blanco, Negramoll and Vijariego Negro.
The Canary Islands
To get to the most extreme winemaking region in Spain, you’ll have to travel a bit farther south than the country’s mainland – just off the coast of southern Morocco, to be exact. It’s here that the volcanic archipelago of the Canary Islands, or Las Canarias, sprung up over the course of several million years and became home to some of Europe’s oldest vines which can also lay claim to be phylloxera-free.
Located at a latitude of about 28 degrees, it seems improbable that the hot and humid Canary Islands could possibly produce quality wine however a number of factors enable such production including the rugged terrain, the volcanic geology, and extreme winds and determined and creative grapegrowers and winemakers all combine to produce potentially one of the most exciting regions in the whole wine world.
Six of the Canary Islands produce wine: Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, La Palma, El Hierro, and La Gomera. For all except Tenerife (which boasts five Dos), the DO zone of the region covers the entirety of the island. Each of the islands has its own unique features and techniques used to combat the region’s climactic challenges, but overall, a mountainous geography, elevated vineyards, and volcanic soil tend to define the Canary Islands’ terroir.
Wines on Tasting – Whites:
Los Loros Listan Blanco 2020 (Tenerife)
Suertes del Marques Vidonia (Listan Blanco) 2020 (Tenerife)
Viñátigo Gual 2020 (Tenerife)
Bodegas Tamerán Baboso Blanco 2020 (Gran Canaria)
Wines on Tasting – Reds:
Bodegas Atlante Listan Negro 2017 (Tenerife)
Bodegas Crater (Listan Negro/Negramoll) 2017 (Tenerife)
Viñátigo Negramoll 2018 (Tenerife)
Suertes del Marques Cruz Santa (Vijariego Negro) 2019 (Tenerife)
Jimmy will be serving some local nibbles to compliment this world-class selection of wine.
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