Tasting the wines of Tenerife is like tasting the diversity of the island. Its flavors range from the northern herbaceous flavor of volcanic soil, almost akin to ash, to the sweet white wines derived from the sunny south. Only a few places can show their diversity through the taste of their wine.
The island of Tenerife reaches such a height above sea level that a wide variety of microclimates can be found here. The great variety of climatic conditions makes these vineyards ideal for planting different grape varieties. This represents the five different wine regions of Tenerife, half of all that can be found in the Canary Islands.
Perhaps that is why the south is known for thin-skinned white wines, particularly listán blanco, while the north features both reds and whites. There are more grape varieties on Tenerife than on any other Spanish island. There is an entire category dedicated to the unique grapes of the island.
Taste the wines of Tenerife
Tenerife wines have a fresh flavor, are light and have a salty touch. Compared to wines grown in the same latitude, they taste nothing like reds and (especially) whites from any other island. The cooler climate, especially in the north of the island, as well as the widespread volcanic soils, are said to contribute to the distinctive character of the wines.
Tenerife has five wine regions: Valle de la Orotava, Ycoden-Daute-Isora, Abona, Tacoronte-Acentejo and Valle de Güímar. This is very unusual and special for such a small area: these five regions make up 8 thousand hectares of vineyards. In most places, Teide shapes the landscape and the vineyards are located on the lower slopes of the mountain. The volcanic soils give the wines a distinct flavor.
One of the keys to the success of Tenerife wines is the different autochthonous varieties of ungrafted vines that grow on the island and are not found anywhere else in Spain.
What are the grapes of Tenerife
The grapes most used to produce white wines are Listán Blanco, Malvasia, Gual, Albillo Criollo, Vijariego, Moscatel, Marmajuelo and Verdello. The rosés and reds are made mostly from Listán Negro, Negramoll and Tintilla grapes.
Malvasia is the most prominent white grape variety. The berry is highly aromatic and one of the oldest known varieties. Tenerife wines are historically sweet, but today you can also find dry, semi-dry and sometimes even tannic wines.
This fresh and aromatic flavor complements both cheese and sweet desserts. The Malvasia grape is mostly white, but there are also red varieties. The Palomino grape variety, very common today on the island, is also used to produce Listán Blanco. With oysters and grilled fish, it is a delicious pairing.
Its dark, medium-sized bunches and its strong character make Listán Negro a very classic variety, which produces unique aromatic and fruity wines. In addition to its flavor, the Negramoll grape is also popular for its velvety texture.
Whether it is enjoyed in a “guachinche”, “tasca” or “bodega”, you can be pretty sure that you will find a great wine!