Topic of the Week 4/22/2019 - Master

Jasnières knowledge last week from , , , , and . I'm a big fan of Belliviere's Les Giroflées rosé made from Pineau d'Aunis that always has notes of mezcal/agave that is so unique to me.

This week: Lanzarote DO

Where is the DO? What are the soils like? What styles may be produced here? Name 2 producers.

  • A DO in the Canary Islands off the West Coast of Morocco belonging to Spain. The DO is permitted to produce red, white, and rose still wines. Espinosa (sparkling) VDL, and UVA Sobremadurada (wine from overripe grapes). Mainly volcanic soils with volcanic ash. 

    Producers: Los Bermejos and Vega de Yuco Yaritza.

  • Lanzarote is the easternmost Canary Island, and is one of the five DOs in the Canaries that cover an entire island. (The other five are located on Tenerife). Unlike the other islands, Lanzarote is nearly devoid of vegetation, as a massive volcanic eruption in 1730 obliterated most of the island's vegetation and left behind a thick layer of volcanic ash. Besides that, Lanzarote is also the most arid, windiest island in the Canaries. These two factors contribute to an incredibly unique system of vineyard management on the island, which involves digging "hoyos" or craters for the bush trained vines to sit in. These craters can be as deep as five meters, and not only help to protect the vines from the wind, but also aid the roots in reaching past the volcanic ash to find the subsoil. The craters are also often shielded even further by the wind by "abrigos" or stone walls that curve around the edges, or line longer, more modern styles of trenches. Similar systems can be found in Santorini and in the Azores, which are both, not coincidentally, volcanic islands with harsh winds. And finally, Lanzarote is also phylloxera free, just like the rest of the Canary Islands, so vines are typically own-rooted.

    The most notable grapes are Malvasia and Listan Blanco (a.k.a. Palomino in Jerez) for whiets, and Listan Negra (cross between Listan Blanca and Negramoll), Listan Prieto (a.k.a. Mission in Californi; Pais in Chile), and Negramoll (a.k.a. Tinta Negra Mole in Madeira) for reds.

  • Volcanic ash (lapilli) is interesting. It holds water, so even in a desert environment, water is available. Having cut my foot on sharp volcanic shards while surfing in Puerto Rico, I would have zero desire to grow vines there. I guess you get used to it if that's your native land, though.

    Another easy to remember producer is Bodega Vulcano de Lanzarote. The wines are super cheap, crisp, and delicious. 

  • There is a strange beauty to this photo... Like looking across the Badlands in the US midwest. Thanks for sharing!