To the island of eternal spring not only for nice wines
The popularity of so-called volcanic wines. still growing. In this case, the vine obtains its properties from volcanic soil. In the Canary Islands you will find both volcanoes and vineyards – vine growing here has a tradition since the 16th century. Of the 9000 ha of vineyards, 7400 ha are on the largest of the islands, Tenerife. There is also a great stratovolcano Pico de Teide (3718 m). Try to combine exploring beautiful natural scenery with local unmistakable and nice wines.
The plane is approaching Aeropuerto Sur Airport. The pilot is flipping through the How to Land easily and quickly guide, and the view from the window does not indicate that there are any vineyards somewhere. This banana plantation can be seen everywhere. After a happy landing, it's time to explore the terrain. A cursory glance at some of the shop windows suggests that there will really be something to taste from local wines. Winemakers are also inspired by the symbol of Tenerife, the stratovolcano Pico de Teide, when creating labels.
The first tasting
Early evening in Puerto de la Cruz, the perfect time to get your first experience with local wine. There are many options, we choose a small unobtrusive bar in the center. Tajinaste Tradicional, on the label of Pico de Teide and Hadinec, inside the local quite typical variety Listán negro. There are currently 33 protected vine varieties in the Canary Islands, of which 19 are white and 14 are blue. And today's first impression? Aroma of red currants and cherries, in the taste of spices, cherries and hints of black pepper. Ingenious.
When you are in Tenerife for the first time, you are thrilled by the apocalyptic landscape of the central caldera and the beautiful rock notches of the southern Teno Mountains. But on further visits, the north of the island, the Anaga Mountains, will win you over. After all, especially before, it was a place where vines matured on the steep slopes of the mountains and terraced vineyards. On the way to Anaga, we stop at the Las Mercedes lookout point, from where there is a beautiful view of the city of La Laguna and Pico de Teide. In nice weather it is quite crowded.
Coast of the Anaga mountains
The peaks of Anaga are often immersed in low clouds. We are lucky that Anaga shows his kind face in the form of beautiful views of the rugged coastline full of cliffs. As we descend from the ridge to the wine village of Taganana, we discover an old vineyard.
The beauty of the north of the island
I definitely recommend a visit to the northern part of the island. In many places, especially where you cannot drive, you will find a minimum of tourists in the otherwise crowded Tenerife. In the picturesque village of Taganana you can visit one of the small bars, where you are sure to find local wine. They have him in the demijohn. I'm not saying it's a miracle, but it's part of learning how the local „garage“ tastes. We continue along the rugged west coast to the fantastic Playa Benijo beach. It is not a typical „bath“, waves are high and reverse currents are dangerous. But it's worth it.
Bodegas Presas Ocampo
We return from the north on the TF16 road. In front of Tacoronte is the „Bodegas Presas Ocampo“ brand. I know their wines, so we turn left and climb a steep hill. Behind the vineyards, as usual, greets us stratovolcano. All grapes are harvested by hand in this winery, dominated by red wines from the typical varieties Listán Negro, Negramolle and the rarer Tintilla. I recommend tasting their great fruit wines, produced by the carbon maceration method, where whole grapes ferment under CO2 pressure in a pressure vessel (maceracion carbonica).
The next day we set out to explore the south of the island. Before we get to some of those vineyards, we need to cross the Teno Mountains. From Santiago de Teide, a narrow road leads to the Mirador Cherfe saddle (max. 8 cars close). From here you can see not only the beautifully rugged Teno, but also the neighboring island of La Gomera.
The village of Masca
Following a narrow road with many sharp turns, we reach the most visited part of Tena, the small village of Masca. From here you can take a trip through a narrow gorge to the ocean (elevation gain 600 meters). In that case, I recommend a lot of drinking, it is usually quite warm. It is also a pleasant walk through the rugged terrain of the village, which is full of subtropical vegetation and old houses. In the eastern part of Lomo de Masca, where many tourists no longer come, there is a great distinctive bar with a wonderful view of the gorge.
We continue by car along a rugged road across the Teno Mountains. There are countless trekking opportunities on narrow trails leading to steep gorges and rocky ridges. We are rediscovering vineyards near the village of El Palmar. There is no vine management as we know it from our vineyards, just something like „bush wine“.
Puerto de la Cruz is full of tourists. But there's the part, the old one, that isn't so tight: La Ranilla. Narrow streets with small shops, bars and wine bars. The locals will be happy to advise you on where to go.
If you want to get a more comprehensive overview of the local winery, I definitely recommend a visit to the wine museum on the outskirts of El Sauzal. Casa del Vino „La Baranda“ is a former farmhouse, where today you will find an exhibition that will take the history of wine growing and production to the present.
The museum has a restaurant, shop and tasting room. Between 1992 and 1996, new designated vine-growing areas, so-called DOs, were created in Tenerife as a measure against cheap imports of wines from the Spanish mainland: Abona, Tacoronte-Acentejo, Valle de Güimar, Valle de La Orotava and Ycoden-Daute-Isora. Wines from all the mentioned DO can be tasted and bought in the local shop. After visiting the museum, we enjoy a fantastic view of the west coast of the island.
An evening with a guide and wine
We spend warm evenings on the terrace planning the next few days. There is still something to discover, both touristly and culinary. It is good to have visits to the winery ready in advance, it is good to book a visit by phone. Sometimes even a GPS does not help to find the desired place.
We set off again to the popular Anaga in the north of the island. The settlement of Los Batanes surprises with a calm sleepy atmosphere. The mountain ridge is shrouded in clouds. I definitely recommend visiting other places where there is also peace and almost no tourists: Las Carboneras, Chinamada, Taborno, Afur and the farthest Chamorga. Here, too, you can taste local wine in small taverns.
When visiting the small village of Chinamada, the path takes us to a beautiful view over the stormy cliffs. From the point of view, the head is spinning. Or would it be after the local wine?
On the way from the north, we use the TF5 motorway and leave it at El Sauzal to climb the vineyards to the „Bodegas Monje“ winery. We find a beautiful new house with a restaurant, a small exhibition of the history of viticulture, a tasting room and a shop.
The winery manages 17 hectares of vineyards. The offer includes classic local varieties and the prices of bottles, depending on the vintage, variety and processing, range from 5 EUR, but you can also find specialties for 400 EUR.
Bananas in wine
Last night we recap our knowledge and experiences. In the past, the vines of the Canary Islands were spared from the vine infestation, all vines have original rootstocks. The temperature in wine-growing areas ranges from 13 to 25 degrees throughout the year, the soil is volcanic, in many parts the shrubs are affected by the salty ocean wind. This combination gives rise to beautiful and typical wines, which are unmistakable and one likes to return to them. So hurry to pack home samples and still taste the local specialty – banana wine. So not that banana wine is made, it is a white variety of Listan Blanc, but banana syrup is added to the wine. Cheers and sometimes goodbye.
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