Discover the Canary Islands’ Untapped Wine Destination
The best things in life are meant to be savoured, like a fine, full-bodied wine. And when it comes to fine wine, Spain remains one of the most fascinating countries in the world, with many wine producing regions and styles to explore. Often, connoisseurs and sommeliers are quick to highlight Spain’s famous winemaking regions, such as La Rioja and the Basque Country. But to discover the delights of Spain’s most exclusive wines, you’ll have to travel far beyond the mainland to La Gomera.
Boasting a spectacular volcanic terrain, the second smallest Canary is home to some of Europe’s oldest vines. In fact, thanks to the island’s secluded location, vines can be hundreds of years old, resulting in vintages that ooze with complexity, history and tradition. And when you taste them, you’ll also be drinking the island’s rich culture.
Winemaking in La Gomera
Due to La Gomera’s rugged landscape, the cultivation of wine is an arduous task. Growers must overcome steep gullies and dizzying heights before they can harvest the island’s highly prized grapes. As a result, many terraced vineyards surround the island’s medianías (areas between 600 and 1,500 metres above sea level), such as Hermigua to the north and Vallehermoso to the west. The steeper the slopes, the smaller the terraces, and many of these crop-growing areas are propped up by solid stone walls.
In these small vineyards, most of the work is still done by hand. Traditionally, the vines were left to grow along the ground but are now trained along trellises. Imbued with this industrious spirit, La Gomera’s unique grapes then come to our tables in the form of wine.
The Wines of La Gomera
Since 2003, La Gomera’s wines are protected by the Guarantee of Origin, “Denominación de Origen La Gomera.” These wines are smooth, aromatic and balanced in the mouth, and their exclusive characteristics owe to a combination of the island’s distinctive features, including its mountain topography, volcanic soil, micro-climates and human factor.
La Gomera’s mountain elevations and mineral-rich soil provide exceptional conditions for the production of dry, acidic whites. These flagship whites are made from Forastera Gomera grapes, which account for 90% of the island’s vines but aren’t grown anywhere else in the world. Forastera grapes have grown here for more than four hundred years, and from a winemaking point of view, it is the most valued variety on the island due to its notably acidic nature, which gives it a fresh, balanced taste.
La Gomera’s red wines, on the other hand, are made from Listan Negro grapes typical of the Canary Islands or blended with Tintilla, Tempranillo, Negro Molle and other varieties. These wines burst with fruity aromas and berry flavours before finishing dry and balanced.
Today, the La Gomera wine region consists of 13 vineyards (bodegas), which produce 30,000 litres of wine every year. For a magical experience, enjoy a glass of La Gomera wine on a restaurant terrace while taking in the views of the island’s vineyards.
For more information, please visit lagomera.travel/en.
Mark Bibby Jackson
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