For centuries a highly alcoholic Malvasía (known also as Malmsey) heavy body wine has been produced in the Canary Islands. It was considered a luxury for the European aristocracy and bourgeoisie until the 18th century when fine wines from Portugal and France were preferred. It was not long after that the wine production in the Canary Islands decayed and became unknown and unnoticed.
However, Lanzarote is one of the few islands to have preserved this style of wine production and most of the Canary Islands have followed suit and vineyards and wine production is big.
Drunk as sweet and semisweet wines, Malvasía (to some known as Malmsey) grapes full of character. Following a brief period of aging in wooden barrels, these wines turn ruity, soft, amber in color and are reminiscent of apricots and muscat. The dry variants secos should be drunk as young as possible.
Modo lanzaroteño is a cultivation method key to the wine production in Lanzarote. It consists of dry fields (that only exist in Lanzarote) with scarce rainfall and a peculiar type of dark-coloured pumice stone known as lapili, which falls onto the fields during volcanic eruptions, covering the fields completely.
Lapili’s secret efficiency is because it’s a stone that cools down very quickly at night, increasing condensation in the layers of air near the ground. This results in great deal of dew (droplets) at night allowing big porous and absorption of moisture, ready to protect the soil during the day from scorching sun rays. So that the roots of the vines can grow out well out of the layer of lapili, 1 meter craters are dug out – at the base of which the vines are planted. Furthermore, semi-circular walls are built around these craters to protect the vines from harsher weather conditions.
Wine-producing areas on the Canary Islands
Canary Islands grow and produce wines, generated an grown to follow Lanzarote’s footsteps, and today produce all sort of wines; red, whites, sweet and dry wines.
D.O. Lanzarote district produces mostly white wines, with Malvasía grapes, predominantly, and Listán Blanco and also the red variety of Listán Negro ( a soft and fruity red grape, medium-bodied and highly aromatic).
D.O. Tacoronte-Acentejo is the oldest and most famous Canarian vineyard and considered an unofficial trendsetter. This is because of its modern approach to quality winemaking and focus on exports. Tacoronte is a municipality of Tenerife.
Other D.O.’s in Tenerife:
- D.O. Yconden-Daute-Isora is known for their aromatic white wines from Malvasía and Listá Blanco.
- D.O. Abona takes great pride as the highest mountain vineyard in Europe. They cultivate fresh white wines and juicy reds of consistent quality.
- D.O. Valle de Güimar is an ancient vineyard that makes white wines from Listán Blanco grapes, creating wonderful fruity and soft wines.
- D.O. Valle de Orotova is known for their rounded soft white and very fruity reds. Cultivated on 400 hectares of vineyards of grapes such as Pedro Ximénez (world famous), Listán Negro and Negramoll.
D.O. El Hierro is the smallest and driest of vineyards in the Canary Islands. The proudly offer 12 varieties of grapes grown on the 500 hectares and produce traditional (but strongly alcoholic) wines made from blends.
D.O. Gran Canaria is a protected designation of origin since 2000. The common grape types used in production are white Malvasía and Negramoll creating light dry white wines with a tinge of herb. The red wines are usually your, light and balmy (best drank in room temperature).
D.O. Monte de Lentiscal covers the natural reserve of Tarifa with volcanic fields that produce grape yields from Listán Negro and Listán Blanco. 90% of the wine productions in Gran Canaria are for red wine.
Vino de Tea, what is it?
Vitno de Tea is a method of wine production in La Palma. Grapes are still trodden on barefoot in huge tubs before the remaining juices are squeezed in wooden presses. The key to this process are the fermented wooden barrels that hold the wine, able to hold upto 400 liters, known as pipas.
The farmers who cultivate these vines are not exactly careful with the cultivation process , probably adding ros eleaves or peach leaves ot the mix and pouring generous amounts of marc into the barrels.
These wines are not bottled is not found in any restaurants. Its to be drunk with friends and families, since getting drunk is almost It’s a raw, light red wine with character that is often not offered to visitors, and with strong taste of resin.
But now for more facts about Tenerife, the most populous island…
If you were to drive through and around the island of Tenerife, you could literally go through all 4 seasons in a day. In the south, the heat is perfect for a day on the beach – ‘Playa de las Américas’ is a large beach holiday resort built on the southwestern tip. In the north you may have heavy rain and driving towards Teide, the volcano, you will find snow!
Tenerife has an abundant number of sea water pools (in Puerto de la Cruz) and water park resorts where to enjoy some relaxing holiday time and vibrant nightlife, restaurants and bars. Tenerife is also the largest university ‘town’ from all the universities on the islands. Not only that, there are other reasons why Tenerife is such a popular destination. Keep reading to find out more about Tenerife’s cities and attractions…
Here are some cities in Tenerife and their tourist higlights:
- Los Abrigos A picturesque working fishing village on the South East coast of the Island
- Costa Adeje Adeje is an old town on the hill above the coast. The coast or costa, is now a major tourist destination
- Las Americas (also Los Cristianos and Costa Adeje) a city built for tourists with spectacular beaches!
- Los Cristianos Once a small fishing village but now a major tourist destination
- Puerto de la Cruz featuring the one and only (and unmissable) Loro Parque Zoo
- Los Gigantes – its main feature are the giant rock formations, you fancy climbing?
- San Cristóbal de la Laguna is a World Heritage city. It’s the third-most populous city of the archipelago, the second-most populous city of the island and considered the ‘cultural capital’ of Tenerife. Worth a visit.
- La Orotava Beautiful city in the north of the island, also worth a visit.
- El Medáno A laid back, alternative haven, one of the windsurfing capitals of the world. Surfer’s paradise.
- Santa Cruz de Tenerife the capital of the Island.