Tenerife revisited

We were back on Tenerife a few weeks ago, and of course trying out local wines again.  In this post you will find a few references to last time.  You do not need to, but if you want to better understand the full significance of last time, a description is available here.

casa_del_vino_press

Unlike last time I cannot now resist giving you the picture of the old wine press at Casa del Vino la Baranda.  I was actually taken in 2010, but could as well have been a few weeks ago as the weather was the same – uncharacteristically wet.

All the prices listed below for the wines are intended to be retail prices on the island converted to GBP, but quite a few of them were estimates based on very little evidence so please do not take them too seriously.  Most of the wines I saw for sale were in quite a narrow price band, so knowing the precise prices is perhaps not so important.  The only wines mentioned below that stood out as being more expensive were the Can and Cráter wines.

A tasting at Casa del Vino la Baranda

We visited Casa del Vino again, and we were better prepared.  We avoided the locals’ weekend quaffing hour that we hit last time, and apart from a few German tasters we had the tasting room to ourselves.  Without the pressure of fighting for attention this time, we announced our intention to drink our way through all the wines on offer, and without prompting it was suggested that we could have half glass pours.  A shared half glass was still quite a generous pour for two people, one of which was driving, so we really needed a spittoon.  The English word for the device was not understood, but a rather unsavoury mime of wine being expelled from my mouth did the trick, and we were set up with a spittoon and two flights in largish glasses arranged in front of a line of bottles.  Excellent, and a vast improvement on last time.  The per-glass prices varied between EUR 1.50 and 2.50, and the total price for our half-glass tasting of 13 wines and some crunchy bread nibbles came to around EUR 8 in total – not at all bad for two people.  Our pourer obviously felt more comfortable with German than English, so he spent most time chatting to others, which was sad in a way as I would have liked more information.  On the other hand it did leave us in peace to concentrate on tasting the wines, and let us discuss more frankly between ourselves.

Unlike last time, there were clear differences apparent between all of the wines.  Having so many wines lined up at the same time probably helped bring out the differences, and I also suspect that Casa del Vino chose the wines on show to illustrate the variety of styles.  To put it mildly, I enjoyed some styles more than others.  Most of the sweeter wines (we didn’t taste any properly sweet dessert wines) were pretty awful in my opinion, and not just because of the sweetness.  But I have a sneaky suspicion that they sell at least as well as the drier ones, and who am I to judge? Well, OK, if you are reading this you probably know who I am, and I am guessing your tastes are probably closer to mine than those who regularly drink those wines, so I suggest you stick to the ones with three or more stars.

Quite a few of the reds, not just the ones at Casa del Vino, had traits that suggested carbonic maceration.  I have used the word “confected” a few times in my notes.  Unlike some writers I do not regard this a being necessarily negative – for me it is just a descriptor of wines that have probably undergone carbonic maceration.   I certainly would not want every wine to taste like that, but in the right context it is fine.

The whites and rosé…

casa_del_vino_white

Morra Guanche, Tenerife Tacoronte-Acentejo DO, Seco, 100% Listán Blanco, 2012, 12.0%, £5.80 Watery pale. Vaguely fresh. Herbal and floral maybe. Low acidity. Dry. Quite neutral, but pleasant enough. Drink now ***

El Borujo, Blanco, Tenerife Valle de Güimar DO, Seco, 40% Listán Blanco, 30% Albillo, 20% Moscatel, 10% Vijariego, 2012, 12.5%, £7.00 Pale straw. Intense, aromatic. Big nose. Floral. Rose maybe? Medium low acid. Powerful finish. Dry. A much bigger wine in terms of flavour than the Morra Guanche. Drink now ****

Viñátigo, Vijariego, Tenerife Ycoden-Daute-Isora DO, 100% Vijariego, 6 months in Barrique, 2012, 12.5%, £8.20 Medium pale greeny gold. Intense oaky nose. Medium low acid. Oaky on palate too but quite pleasant. Lime and lemon. Dry. Only consider you are happy with oaky wines. Drink now, or try keeping a few years ****

Brumas de Ayosa, Espumoso Afrutada, Tenerife Valle de Güímar DO, Semiseco, 100% Listán Blanco, 2012, 11.5%, £7.00 Medium pale gold. Intense citrus. Lime perhaps? Medium low acid. Medium sweet. Ugh. Vaguely corky but I don’t think it was corked *

Flor de Chasna Sensación, Tenerife Abona DO, Semidulce, 100% Listán Blanco, 2013, 11.5%, £7.00 Pale straw. Huge nose. Sweet cat pee. Medium low acid. Medium sweet. Sweetness almost clobbers flavour completely. Drink now ***

Marba, Blanco Afrutado, Tenerife Tacorente-Acentejo DO, Bodegas Marba, 2012, 11.5%, £8.10 Very pale gold. Intense, weird, scented cleaning fluid. Sweet *

Pagos, Reverón, Afrutado, Tenerife Abona DO, 60% Listán Negro, 25% Tempranilla, 15% Syrah, 2013, £7.00 Deepish violet pink. Intense sweet confected red fruit. Strawberry. Cat pee. Sweet *

The reds…

casa_del_vino_red

Bodegas de Miranda, Tenerife Valle de la Orotava DO, 100% Listán Negro, 2012, 13.5%, £7.00 Medium intense purple ruby. Confected sweet red fruit. Medium low acid. Rather hard edges. Drink now **

Viña Orlara, Tenerife Tacoronte-Acentejo DO, 40% Listán Negro, 40% Negramoll, 10% Rubí Cabernet, 10% Castellana and Merlot, 2012, 13.5%, £5.40 Medium intense purple ruby. Intense pencil box claret-like nose. Medium acid. As nose. Medium low tannin. Light, but more serious than the last red wine. Drink now or keep a little ***

Viña Sur, Tenerife Ycoden-Daute-Isora DO, 100% Negramoll, 2012, 13.5%, £7.50 The first pour we were offered was oxidised, probably because the bottle had been open for too long – you can see the level in the image above – but this was replaced with a pour from a newly opened bottle when I pointed this out.  Medium pale purple ruby. Intense confected red fruit. Medium low acid. As nose. Medium tannin. Like a decent Beaujolais perhaps. Drink now, or keep a little ****

Viña Riquelas Negramoll, Tenerife Tacoronte-Acentejo DO, 100% Negramoll, 2012, 13.0%, £7.30 Medium intense ruby. Intense pleasant red fruit. Raspberry and strawberry. Medium low acidity. Medium low tannin. Palate more restrained than nose. Drink now ***

7 Fuentes, Tenerife Valle de la Orotava DO, Bodegas Soagranorte, 90% Listán Negro, 10% Tintilla, 8 months in barrique, 2012, 13.0%, £7.10 Medium pale purple ruby. Oaky reductive notes. Medium low acid. Medium high tannin. Better on palate – no reductive notes. Suspect will improve with aging ***

Cráter, Tenerife Tacoronte-Acentejo DO, Listán Negrol and Negramoll. New French oak barriques for 6 months, 2011, 13.5%, £14.30 Medium ruby garnet. Medium pencil box Claret. Medium acidity. Smooth. Medium tannin. Good now, and will improve. Note that this was the wine that impressed most in 2010, when we drank a 2006 wine at  Solana in Santa Cruz ****

Wines we drank in restaurants

Viña Norte, Tinto Joven, Listán Negro y Negramoll, Tenerife Tacoronte Acentejo DO, 2012, 13.5%, £8.00 Intense purple ruby. Intense, slightly sickly, dark fruit Medium low acid. Boiled sweets carbonic maceration. Cherry. Sweet aromatics that were sickly on the nose are more pleasant on the palate. Also lifted by eucalyptus notes. Low tannin. Drink now ***

Tajinaste, Tenerife Valle de la Orotava DO, Tinto Tradicional, 2012, 13.0%, £8.00 Intense purple ruby. Fresh boiled dark fruit drops. Medium low acidity. Low tannin.  Cab mac again. I tried two bottles on two consecutive evenings. The second night it seemed lighter and less cloying, but still not outstanding. Drink now ***

Can, Listán Negro y Vijariego, Tenerife Valle de la Orotava DO, Finca La Araucaria. Bodega Tajinaste, 9 months in French oak barrels, 2011, 13.5%, £15.00 Intense purple. Maybe some ruby, but poor light. Intense dark fruit and oak. Medium low acid. Smooth. Understated – certainly compared to expectation from the nose.  Velvety, medium low tannin. Toffee flavours from the oak, but nothing indicating oxidation. Good now. I tried two bottles on two consecutive evenings. The second evening, I was not sure how understated it was on the palate. It was a bit of a bruiser, but still without the sweetness of fruit that often comes with such wines.  Good now, but no hurry ****

Tajinaste, Blanco Seco, Vino de Calidad de las Islas Canarias DO, Listán Blanco, Albillo Criollo, 2012, 12.5%, £7.50 Pale greenish straw Intense, fresh and herbal. But not like Sauvignon Blanc. More heavy aromatic mediterranean herbs. Sage? Medium acid. Dry. Viscous. Stone fruit finish, as viognier but still aromatically herbal. Drink now.  Yet another wine we had two bottles of! ****

In summary

Interesting wines, and I am glad I tried them – they are definitely worth exploring if you find yourself on Tenerife.  Back in the UK, if I happened to stumble across them I’d be happy to pick up a bottle of the ones I enjoyed more.  But I don’t think I’d seek them out, and doubt very much I would drink multiple bottles when they have so much more competition here.

Author: Steve Slatcher

Wine enthusiast

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