Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wines of Lanzarote

I am back from Lanzarote, another Canary Island not so far from Gran Canaria, and I have had the best time! I have so much I want to share, but I thought I would start with the wine. Such a lovely surprise!
The wine of Lanzarote I mean. I had no idea Lanzarote produced such delicious wine!
But Lanzarote is just another denominacion de origen in Spain with great wine.
There were lots of bodegas and lots of good wine.

 Lanzarote is the easternmost Canary Island, the one closest to Africa, and has a unique and quite spectacular volcanic landscape. Eruptions in 1730-36 covered big parts of the island in lava  
and well, in this solidified black lava, nothing can grow. 

However, around the edges of all this lava, the conditions are ideal for vines because of the volcanic ash, picón. This layer of ash absorbs rain and the humidity at night, and prevents it from evaporating in the strong sun, which keeps the soil underneath at a constant temperature. 

I have seen vines in Rioja, and Catalunya and it was interesting to 
see such a different way to grow them in Lanzarote.

Lanzarote is very windy so the vines are mostly planted in holes in the ground, often with stone walls around the edges to protect them from the wind. The vines are cut in a special way to get them 
to grow outwards, close to the ground, instead of rising upwards like "normal" 
vines. You don't even see the vines before getting close to these holes. 

There is a "ruta del vino", basically a wine-route where you can drop by many wineries, 
see their vines, go on a guided tour (on some), and taste their wines. 

I tried several, and the kind I liked the most (of all the brands I tried) was
the dry white wine from the Malvasía grape. 

The best one of all, I think was the dry white 'selección' from El Grifo
El Grifo is the oldest winery in the Canary islands, open since 1775. 

There is a museum, which is the old bodega..

...and you can also have a walk outside along their vines,
 and then enjoy a lovely glass of the wine of your choice in the sunny patio.
(Included in the entrance fee.)

There is also a shop where you can buy wine. The museum wasn't superduperinteresting in my opinion,
but the wine was really nice, and so was the patio, so I would recommend a visit for that. My biggest disappointment though, was the shop as I later saw that the price of the wine there was higher than in any supermarket in Lanzarote. The one I liked the most was about €10 a bottle, while it cost around €7 in the supermarkets. That is not nice, it should be the other way around, shouldn't it?

I also visited La Geria, nice place to try & buy some wine.
(Although I personally didn't like the wine I tried there too much!)  

And Stratvs, said to be the most modern winery in Europe. 
I would have liked to do the guided tour here, but it was full for the days I was there. 

At Stratvs you could see this; the different coladas of lava, and the root of a vine in the lava soil.

All in all, the Ruta de Vino is definitely worth checking out while in Lanzarote!

Ever been to Lanzarote, and did you check out the wine district?


  1. It really is amazing that there is wine grown on that landscape. We usually associate agriculture with such lush landscapes, but this was beautiful in an unexpected way.

    1. It surprised me also. It must be so beautiful when all the vines are full of green leaves, the contrast to the black landscape.

  2. ruta de vino in Lanzarate? I am little suprised. I have never heard about wine from Lanzarate, so far. Thank you for sharing!

    1. I am glad to have "taught" you something new about Lanzarote!:)

  3. Those vine holes are fascinating! I've never seen such a thing! So cool! I also typically find that wines cost more at the wineries than at the supermarket. Seems backwards to me.

    1. Yes those holes were very fascinating!
      Hmm, I am surprised at the price thing. It should be cheaper direct from producer where there are no intermediaries or transport included in the price!?

  4. Oh yeah!!!! I love volcanic stuff because it reminds me of the power of the earth, sort of like being by the ocean. This is one powerful mother (earth).

    1. I am superfascinated by volcanoes by now. Yep, very very powerful.

  5. That is the most amazing vineyard I've ever seen! Beautiful, beautiful pictures. I'm from California and have seen vineyards up and down the west coast of the USA and Canada but this is totally brand new to me. How clever that they modified the plant and growing methods to match the environment.

    Every winery I've ever been to charges more for a bottle of wine than you'll pay in the supermarket. I guess they hope you'll drink enough to get tipsy and decide you MUST have a case right NOW. :-)

    1. Hi Michele! Thank you so much for your kind words. I thought it was so unexpected and so beautiful in a sort of raw nature kind of way.

      Haha, about the prices...I guess that's exactly what happened when we were there! The wine was so good, and it was too easy to grab a bottle to go! I don't know about the prices in the different Cava wineries I have visited, but in Marques de Riscal in Rioja, Spain, the prices were about identical to the price I have later seen in the shops both here and in Catalunya. It just seems wrong to pay more right there at the producer but maybe it's normal and I just didn't have a clue :)