Every year we gather our Lanzarote Active Residents Club members together to visit each of the 14 Denomination of Origin wineries in Lanzarote. This gives us the opportunity to see (and more importantly get tasting!) what the year has brought. We learn how the Lanzarote DO wines have matured or changed, also keeping up to date with anything new that we can explain on our guided wine tours.
We started our day at the Zocos vine pits. Here we were guided through the details of unique vine cultivation. (In addition to information about the varieties planted). The flowers had given way to the small grains which are still green at this stage. It will all change quickly prior to the next harvest time though.
Tasting Lanzarote Wines..
The La Geria winery was not on our program, but our Wine tasting tour guide Ed could not resist trying his favourite Manto Seco. A 100% Malvasía made from a selection of the best grapes. It’s very complex and elegant, one of our all time favourites!
A History of Wine..
Our next stop was El Grifo. We were met by the competent and knowledgeable Anna, along with the second oenologist Jorge. Together they introduced our group to their production areas. The machinery was being serviced to be ready for harvest. El Grifo use some amazing technology.
This is just one of the components within their recipe for award winning wines. Actually the recipe is Technology + know how + tradition + Something else = Premium Wine. The ‘Something else’ is the art form which each oenologist puts in. Wine making is not an exact science, there is always the ‘something else’. The indescribable ingredient which is more of an art form.
Among the stainless steel vats we got to taste the 100% listán negro red. This is a very fruity wine which undergoes double maceration (the second is malolactic). It’s very pleasant on the palate, despite not being completely ready to be bottled. Then we tasted the surprise in the making, El Grifo orange wine!
The en-vogue tipple in the world of wine. It’s basically a white wine elaborated with the same procedure as a red wine. The exposure to skin and seeds, in time will change the colour of the wine into a lovely orange.
The El Grifo orange will be elaborated from Moscatel Grapes. We had a taste which was very interesting: the aroma reminded us of jazmin and roses. It tasted a bit strong, which is typical for orange wines but definitely interesting. We will wait for it impatiently until it’s fully ready! This is what we love about the oenologist of El Grifo. He always surprises us with new ideas, while mastering the classics!
Pairing Food & Wine..
Later we enjoyed some tasting in the winery paired with a lovely selection of cheeses, Iberico ham and sweet potato jelly. We had the brut, made with the champanois method from Malvasía grape. This is elegant, light, fresh and fun. One of our favourites during our regular tours. This wine is now 18 months in bottle which makes it a very good deal in the price/quality relation.
The Vijariego is a very interesting young wine with citric notes. It’s fresh and uncomplicated. The variety Diego or Vijariego can only be found in Lanzarote and Tenerife. So we made sure we picked up a nice supply of bottles of Vijariego to take home!
Flushed Pink Rosé
Next was the Rosado de lágrima, a delicate rosé made from the listán negro grape. The grape is pressed, only to crack the skin. This allows the juice to gently drip from the fruit. This way the wine is made exclusively from free-run ‘must’. The Spanish poetically refer to this as “Mosto Flor”. Contact with the skin is minimal, giving the final product a lovely pale pink colour. Here we can really appreciate the visual pleasure of drinking a pretty in pink wine.
The Ariana red, followed. This wine is made from a blend of the native listán negro with the elegant syrah. It also went through the malolactic fermentation as their listán negro but has 4 months of barrique on top. This is one of the island favourites, if not the number 1 red wine from Lanzarote.
The cherry on top of the cake was tasting the precious sweet wine Canari. Made from a blend of exceptional malvasía harvest vintage grapes. 1956,1970 and 1997. The grapes collected were passified hence the raisin notes. This wine is fortified and it reminds the ancient canary wines.
These were very popular with Shakespeare. During that era the wine would arrive in huge quantities to England, mainly via Canary Warf. The Canari is always a winner in international competitions, and highly rated in Robert´s Parker The Wine Advocate. Furthermore, Canari is an absolute delight. Our group left the winery with a shine in their eyes (for different reasons), taking a good supply of bottles for later.
Tasting something new..
The Bodega La Morra winery is something newbie for all of us. This is a new artisanal winery with denomination of origin: Tinajo Natural. The owner Daniel Lasso is a known face to us all. We remember him from years gone by at the La Florida winery. (Many will remember, the delicious La Florida sweet moscatel).
The winery itself is located within a traditional small village house, Daniel shows us how he presses with a traditional volcanic stone press supported by a massive wooden beam. It’s probably the only working press like this in the Canary Islands. The entire process is artisanal with the exception of the stainless steel tanks which maintain the desired temperature of the wine.
Denomination of Origin Wine
There are regulations to be met in order to be part of the Denomination of Origin. These regulations assure the stability of the wines. We taste the difference between a nice Malvasía dry, and an amazing Moscatel (with the memory of his know how from Finca La Florida). The biggest surprise is Daniels first Canarian vermouth! A very good one it is too. The winery produces a white from the listán blanco and a rosé from listán negro.
There are 14 spices for the white and 16 spices for the red. There is a specialist from Tenerife who leads the elaboration. Vermouth is produced like a tea, by brewing the herbs in the wine. We imagine the gin, martinis and manhattans to be made with this! The production is very sparse, so there are limited bottles of each.
Just a perfect day
After 10 lots of wines to taste, our group was by now very hungry. We crashed into the nearby Casa Ignacio, where they had prepared a table for us. Plates were landing in rapid succession on the table: Chicken & fish croquets, marinated fish, canarian potatoes with mojos, chickpea stew and some delicious smelling homemade slowly cooked meat dish. We were all merry, and in a funny warm glow mood with lots to talk about. In addition, we’re already planning our next visit more Lanzarote wineries, La Geria and Rubicón!