- Red Wine
- Listán Negro
- Sustainable, Vegan-Friendly, Volcanic
- Medium Bodied
- 13.5% alc./vol
About the Winery
Juan Jesús is a proud native of Tenerife and the fourth generation of growers. During the thirty years that he's overseen Bodegas Viñátigo, he has considerably increased its holdings, planting varieties that he and his team recuperated from near extinction.
Driven by passion and love for his homeland, Juan decided to revive and work to save the native grape varieties that were brought to the Canary Islands by the conquers back in the 15th century and that had survived on the islands for centuries. He is a hero of contemporary Canarian viticulture. The wealth of knowledge that his work has created has helped underpin the significant expansion of wine styles that are now available throughout the archipelago, and his wines have achieved a calibre of class that many doubted the Canaries would ever produce again. (The Epic Wines of the Canary Islands, written by Santo Bains).
91 points - David Lawrason
From pre-phylloxera vines grown at high altitude in volcanic soils, this is a mid-weight, quite smooth red with a generous nose that reminded me of smoke and tar, with wild chokecherry, pomegranate fruit and herbs. Flavours are a bit unusual and sour-edged yet the texture and tension are smooth and appealing. Tannins are quite mild; the length is excellent. Tasted December 2020.
91 points - Michael Godel
The volcanic midlands of Tenerife’s northwest section is THE place on the Canary Islands for growing and producing the highest quality of listán negro. The fourth and fifth generations of Juan Jesús’ family are the custodians of these pre-phylloxera vines at 500-1000m and the wines they gift. Just a kiss of oak does little to adulterate the precocious sentimentality and unknowable delight for a wine that you warm up to without knowing how or why. By now and with the 2019 vintage this unique red has come into its own at a perfect knife’s edge volatility and discreet if sumptuous behaviour. A must try and twice, each year for the next three to six. Drink 2020-2025. Tasted December 2020.
- Red Wine
- Listán Negro
- Natural, Vegan-Friendly, Volcanic
- 12.5% alc./vol
About the Winery
Suertes del Marqués
The Canary Islands, located off the coast of Morocco, but technically a part of Spain, form a backdrop for some of the most unlikely yet wondrous vineyards for producing fine wines in the entire world.
In a valley facing North and North east on the cooler, ocean-influenced North-facing part of the Island is the Valle de la Orotava DO and home to the vineyards of Suertes Del Marques. The vineyards are on very steep hillsides rising up from the sea, between 400 and 700 meters elevation. This part of the island is often 15-20 degrees cooler than the much hotter and sunnier south side of the island. Like the extreme Sonoma Coast in CA, this area is often under cloud cover which protect the grapes from the powerful sun rays. In fact, Tenerife is at the same latitude as Central Florida, and well out of the 30-50 latitude range that is often considered the 'rule' for making fine wines.
Visiting the vineyards of Suertes del Marques is like going back in time. The area is Phylloxera free and so the vines are pie franco (own rooted) and extremely old, with some potentially over 200 years! Many of the vines are trained using a unique method to this area called Cordon Trenzado where the vines spread out in long braids of wood, some up to 15-20 feet from the mother trunk! The varietal mix here is like a treasury of lost and little know grapes: Listan Negro and Blanco, Malvasia Rosado, Vijariego, Baboso Negro and more, about 80% red and 20% white.
Given the extremely special nature of what Suertes del Marques possesses, proprietor Jonatan Garcia Lima works all his vineyards organically and all by hand and with the utmost care and respect for nature and the history. And from these amazing and unique vineyards, he endeavors to make fresh, tensile and mineral driven wines that showcase the volcanic soils and the native varieties. To achieve his objective, through years of experimentation and refinement, he has divided up the slope into parcels to achieve a hierarchy (much like a slope in Burgundy) as well as a unique vineyard signature to each of his top Cru wines. These various parcels have names like El Ciruelo, El Chibirique, El Esquilon and La Solana. The parcel wines are also grouped by soil type, with gold capsules indicating more "sandy" soils and silver capsules more clay over the bedrock of volcanic subsoils.
To achieve the utmost purity and refinement to the wines, all work in the cellar is done with a minimum of interference. This includes all indigenous yeast fermentations, use of neutral large oak barrels with minimal racking and added sulphur during the élévage. He also is a believer of using a decent percentage of whole clusters in fermentation for these native varietals, having been inspired by tasting and visiting in areas like Burgundy and the Rhone Valley. At bottling, there is also a minimum of filtration with the wines just passing through a large screen to remove any unwanted remnants, stems, grape skins, etc.
The resulting wines are super pure, and without artifice. They most certainly reflect the terroir from which they come. On both the reds and whites, they are fresh and bright with a strong underlying volcanic minerality, which Jonatan says can sometimes be misconstrued as reduction. Nonetheless,the wines themselves can sometimes be a little reduced, particularly in the months after bottling given the minimal racking and low SO2. If so, he recommends a nice decant before serving. He says. "if I wanted to make simple, fruity wines, without this pronounced 'Volcanic' character, I would have to use artificial yeast and new oak!" Obviously, not the kind of wines he or we are looking for from this unique terroir! All in all, these are extremely versatile wines and can pair beautifully with a range of foods.