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Details for Suertes del Marqués, 7 Fuentes


CountrySpain
Region
AppellationValle de La Orotava DO
Grape
Listán Negro
(click to find out more)
Tintilla / Trousseau / Bastardo
(click to find out more)
Year2014
Producer
Suertes del Marqués
(click to find out more)
ABV13.5%


Tenerife

Perhaps surprisingly, wine from Tenerife and the other Canary Islands has a long and illustrious history dating back to when the Spanish first colonised the islands in the 15th century.  By the 16th century Tenerife wines were being exported to the rest of Europe.  They were especially popular in England: in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Sir Toby Belch calls for “a cup of canary”.
 
Sir Toby’s canary sack would have been a sweet wine, made from Malvasia. Such wines are still made today, but Tenerife’s recent resurgence is based on its dry reds and whites, made from local varieties grown high on the slopes of the mighty volcano Mount Teide.
 
These varieties came originally from Spain and Portugal, but some may be the result of natural crosses occurring on the island.  In any case, many of them are now extinct or nearly so on the mainland, making the Canaries (and Madeira, which shares many of the same grapes) their main home today.
 
One reason for their survival on Tenerife is that the devastating aphid Phylloxera has never made it to the island.  Mainland European vineyards all had to be replanted after the pest struck, and many less-productive varieties were lost in the process.  The absence of phylloxera means that Tenerife’s vines are all ungrafted, grown on their own roots rather than on phylloxera-resistant American rootstocks.  It also explains why they are the oldest in Europe, with many vineyards being over a century old.  On the mainland, vines this old would have perished during the phylloxera epidemic.
 
International varieties like Chardonnay and Carbernet Sauvignon are practically unknown here.  Instead the main varieties are, for reds, Listán Negro, supported by Negramoll (called Tinta Negra Mole on Madeira, where it is the main grape), Baboso Negro (Portugal’s Alfrocheiro), and Tintilla.  The principal white grape is Listán Blanco, better known as the sherry grape Palomino Fino, aided by Malvasia de Tenerife (the same variety as Madeira’s) and a range of others.
 


Suertes del Marqués

Established in 2006, Suertes del Marques is the joint project of owner Jonatan Garcia Lima, whose family have farmed land and owned vineyards here for generations, and winemaker Roberto Santana.  Roberto made his name as winemaker for Casa Castillo in the Jumilla region of mainland Spain before returning to the island of his birth.

 
The company may be new, but most of the vineyards are ancient.  They form a patchwork of now-contiguous plots that have taken Jonatan’s family a quarter of a century to acquire.  Suertes means plots, and many of them are over a century old.  These ancient vines are trained in the cordon trenzano system unique to the island, with the branches tightly braided and staked horizontally close to the ground.
 
The main varieties planted are the indigenous Listán Negro and the unrelated Listán Blanco, which is the same grape as the Palomino used to make sherry.  There are smaller plantings of other local varieties like Babosa Negra and Tintilla, and the white Albillo Criollo.
 
No chemicals are used in the vineyards, which are unirrigated and worked entirely by hand.  Fermentation is performed only with the natural yeasts from the grape skins, and sulphur dioxide use is kept to a minimum.  Roberto strives to produce natural wines that reflect their terroir rather than the winemaking.
 
Recent glowing reviews from the international wine press have allowed them to expand, and they now work an additional 15 hectares of vineyards owned by their neighbours in addition to their own 11 hectares.  Yields from these old vines are so low that their production remains firmly in boutique territory.
 

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