In recent years, the small family winery Suertes del Marqués, of Tenerife, has surprised the European and international markets producing wines of excellent quality thanks to the island’s good farmlands, its unique strains and cultivation technique.
This young winery has been so successful that, in just 4 years, it managed to obtain—for more than a dozen of their wines— over 90 points in international evaluations. Among these, especially noteworthy are “El Ciruelo”, vintage 2011— which got 94 points from the prestigious Robert Parker— and “La Solana” vintage 2012, also with 94 points awarded by the trade publication “Peñín Guide” from Spain.
The key to the winery’s success is based on respect for the viticultural traditions of the region and the defense of the grapes characteristic of the area, such as the “Listán Negro” and the “Listán Blanco”, among others.
Due to the special geography of the Canary Islands, where the terrain is uneven and mountainous, hundreds of years ago its inhabitants developed a technique for growing vines like no other in the world, called “braided cord”.
This technique consists in artificially interlacing—or “braiding” the branches of the vine after the pruning and attaching them with small ribbons to encourage horizontal growth. The twisted branches of one single plant stand firm supported by small poles about 60 centimeters (2 feet) from the ground, allowing it to grow so well that the plant can reach a length of up to 15 meters (49 feet).
This peculiar cultivation technique gives the Canary Islands some unique and unrepeatable landscapes, with plantations where you can see these huge vines with entwined horizontal branches that spring from a single base.
In the case of the winery Suertes del Marqués, in order to produce premium wines its chief enologist Roberto Santana decided to join the global trend of natural production with minimal intervention, respecting the characteristics of the terroir.
Thus was born the product line of the winery, consisting of nine parcel labels, produced by hand with grapes from small plots of up to 3 hectares (2 acres) in length, plus two blend labels specially designed by the winery’s own enologists.
“El Ciruelo” comes from a small plot located at an altitude of 500 m and is made mostly with Listán Negro grapes, with small contributions of Listán Blanco grapes, from surefooted vines about 90 years old.
With a soft ruby color, clean and bright, it has clear aromas of berries, minerals and of the French oak barrels where it was aged. The flavor is full-bodied, soft, and fruity, with a balanced acidity and a spicy mineral hint provided by the terroir.
As a symbol of its product line, the label “El Ciruelo” is an excellent choice for those who want to experience new alternatives from non-traditional backgrounds and strains—perhaps not as popular, but of optimum quality in an industry where it is not easy to innovate. ■