Despite its short history –the project started in 2006, this small family winery has established new quality standards in the Canary Islands, not to mention an all-time high exposure thanks to the support of both Spanish and international wine influencers. In fact, 60% of the wines are sold overseas, a figure that is expected to rise over the coming years; 10% of the wines remain in the islands and the rest is sold in the peninsula.
The García family owns 11 hectares in Valle de la Orotava north of Tenerife with altitudes ranging from 300 to 750m. They also control 15 additional hectares from local winegrowers. Their work is focused on indigenous grapes and traditional vine training methods like cordon trenzado, which is the result of weaving the plants’ branches. In very old vines these branches can be up to 15m long. Another distinctive feature of the Canary Islands is the fact that vines are ungrafted as phylloxera failed to reach their shores. Volcanic soils are the norm here with variable layers of sand and clay on the surface.
The youngest vineyards were planted in the 2000s but the family also owns several 100-year-old plots. Great environmental care is applied to wine growing and this is reflected in the winery, where wild yeasts are used for fermentation, rackings are avoided and low doses of sulfites are added. Wine is usually fermented in uncoated concrete vats often with different percentages of whole bunches. Aging takes place in small French oak foudres. After the pivotal role played by oenologist Robert Santana (Envinate) defining the range of wines, former Niepoort technical director Luis Seabra has recently taken over winemaking.
Overall production totals around 95,000 bottles with many different wines being produced, some of them in tiny quantities. All of them share the distinctive, exotic character of the region’s volcanic soils. In general terms the wines are light to medium-bodied, deeply aromatic and expressive with forest, earthy and peppery notes.
The entry-level red 7 Fuentes (48,000 bottles, €11.5 in Spain) offers unbeatable value an it’s a perfect introduction to the best that the Canary Islands has to offer. A blend of Listán Negro with some Tintilla aged in concrete vats and oak, it is a village wine. The same applies to El Lance (4,100 bottles, €14) which includes other local grapes like Vijariego Negro, Baboso Negro and Malvasía Rosada and is fully aged in oak; Medianías, an exclusive brand for Cvne’s distribution company Montenegro; and the white Trenzado (16,000 bottles, €16) made from Listán Blanco and small quantities of Pedro Ximénez, Albillo Criollo, Gual, Marmajuelo and Malvasía, most of them grown with the cordon trenzado training system.
All single-vineyard wines come from plots grown in El Esquilón vineyard with production ranging from 650 to 8,000 bottles. Most of them are single-varietal Listán Negro reds like La Solana (€17), Candio (€30) and El Ciruelo (€32). The relatively easy to find El Esquilón (€22) includes some Tintilla, while the very scarce Los Pasitos (€36) is a single-varietal Baboso Negro. Finally, the white Vidonia (€21) is made from Listán Blanco. Two sweet wines -one red and one white- complete Suertes del Marques’ portfolio but production is tiny.