Region: Valle de Orotava, Tenerife
Grapes: Listán Negro, Tintilla
First Glance: Light bodied, fresh, redcurrant, lit matchstick
If you've asked your wine-nerd friend or indeed any young savvy sommelier what grape or region they were most excited about at present, chances are you may have had to sit through a TED-talk-like presentation of the dramatic landscapes and indigenous varieties of the Canary islands or the Azores, the volcanic slopes of Mt Etna or the windswept islands of Greece's Aegean sea. What all of the above have in common, and indeed the trend that takes shape with them, is that they are age-old, highly individualistic pockets of grape growing, in a world that has long been dominated by major international grape varieties and winemaking ethos. In other words; the old-school, idiosyncratic and the indigenous is back in fashion!
One such iconic producer is Suertes Del Marques, located on Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco. Here, the subtropical climate is tempered by altitudes of up to 1000 metres, and the volcanic derived soils, in conjunction with local varieties such as Listan Negro and Listan Blanco, make highly distinctive wines unlike any you may have tasted before.
The 7 Fuentes is made from different plots of vineyards between 250 - 800 masl in the central Valle de Orotava region, from vines between 10 and 180 years of age. The winemaking is decidedly old-school, with both fermentation and ageing in old unlined concrete tanks, and a small portion in neutral oak barrels.
The Best Cellars View:
A very pale red with pungent aromatics and pervasive reductive (gunflint / lit matchstick) top notes, so typical of its volcanic origins. With a little air, pristine notes of redcurrant, pomegranate and fresh mountain herbs come to the surface. A very light body with super fine tannins and lifting but not aggressive acidity. Beautiful, if very idiosyncratic in style.