2020 Suertes del Marqués, Valle de la Orotava Vino Tinto "El Esquilón"
2020 Suertes del Marqués, Valle de la Orotava Vino Tinto "El Esquilón"

2020 Suertes del Marqués, Valle de la Orotava Vino Tinto "El Esquilón"

Canary Islands, Spain 2020 (750mL)
Regular price$45.00

2020 Suertes del Marqués, Valle de la Orotava Vino Tinto "El Esquilón"

No tour of the special terroir of Tenerife would be complete without a red wine made from Listán Negro, and it so happens that we have a small amount of just that from one of our very favorite Canary Island superstars: Suertes del Marqués. Ever since a couple members of the SommSelect team visited this estate some years ago, we’ve been head over hills for these unique wines. “El Esquilón” is a single vineyard of 80 year old, pre-phylloxera vines, that is mostly Listán Negro with some of the local Tintilla as well. It’s classic Canary: Smoky, savory, bright and fresh, but with a surprisingly deep and complex structure, and it is only getting better with time. It’s pretty simple then, grab some of the Listán Blanco to the left here, grab some of this lovely Listán Negro, and you’ll be ready to do the Tenerife two-step.

To get from the Valle de Güímar, where you find our standout white from Tenerife “Locartas,” to the Valle de la Orotava all you need to do is cross over the mountain ridge that descends from Mt. Teide, going from the coast that sits below Santa Cruz to the valley outside of Puerto de la Cruz. A helicopter or jetpack will get you there fast, but a drive through the meandering mountain roads is the most scenic route. This is the cooler side of the island, though the dry, wind swept conditions exist throughout Tenerife, and it allows Jonatan García Lima to make the complex, intense, and soulfully volcanic wines that he is passionate about. 

Prior to starting the Suertes del Marqués label in 2006, Jonatan’s family grew grapes in the Valle de la Orotava; they now draw on 11 hectares of organically farmed estate vineyards, along with a host of other local growers who work according to their specifications. As is the case in other such island terroirs (whose ashy volcanic soils proved resistant to phylloxera), many of these vineyards contain extremely old vines, including some ungrafted parcels exceeding 100, even 150, years of age. Along with Listán Negro and Blanco, the two best-known native grapes on Tenerife, they also have Pedro Xímenez, Tintilla, Baboso Negro, and other field-blended local varieties. Jonatan is now working out of a spanking-new winery, which is tucked into a hillside overlooking the ocean.

One of the benefits of the trenzado training method is that the long, braided fruiting canes allow for full maturation of the grape stems, which enables Jonatan to ferment the wine with whole grape clusters intact without extracting undue bitterness. The wine was fermented in open-topped vats on wild yeasts and aged for nine months in a combination of concrete tanks (20%) and 500-liter barrels (80%).

“El Esquiló” is perhaps the most intense, and wonderfully wild wine in a lineup of wines that always walk somewhat on the wild side. Give it a good, vigorous decant for one to two hours and it really starts to shine. In the glass, it’s a shimmering, semi-transparent garnet-red moving to pink at the rim, with a bevy of red fruits and humid, smoky earth notes on the nose. In this vintage, it’s a touch heftier (though it still only clocks in at 13% a.b.v.), with a texture and weight that seems akin to Nebbiolo in character but with a telltale volcanic edge. Aromas and flavors of red cherry, cranberry, and blood orange surf a savory wave of cured meat, underbrush, black pepper, and a generous dusting of volcanic ash. It is medium-bodied, with firm tannins and lots of brisk acidity driving the long, smoky finish. Serve it in large Burgundy stems at 60 degrees with a dish that plays to its rustic side. Check out the attached recipe for a classic Canarian version of ropa vieja and celebrate one of the greatest red wine values in the world. Cheers!

2020 Suertes del Marqués, Valle de la Orotava Vino Tinto "El Esquilón"

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