A bit farther south from the mainland of Spain, on the volcanic archipelago, you will find one of the oldest and most extreme wine regions with unusual and visually striking vineyards. The Canary Islands archipelago comprises of eight main islands that are known for their outstanding ecosystem. Tropical beaches, mountains, jungles and volcanic terroir creates the uniqueness of the islands. The highest point of Spain, Mount Teide is located here and stands at over 12000 feet. The inland is ideal for hiking, cycle touring and rock climbing. The beaches here are the main attraction though and attract tourists from all over the world to relax in the sun and enjoy some water sports. The Canary Islands also boasts the UNESCO World Heritage site at San Cristóbal de La Laguna and is the cultural hub.
Extreme viticulture on volcanic soil
Natural conditions of the Canary Islands don’t really favour winemaking. Characterise by hot and humid climate, rugged terroir, extreme ocean winds, It sounds almost impossible that these islands could possibly produce the quality of wines. However, the Canary Islands creates one of the most heroic wine regions, producing exciting and unique wines in these conditions. The grapes and wines of the Canary Islands will get your head twisted with both their tastes and aromas. A massive part of the vineyards is located in a volcanic region, Tenerife. You will be surprised to know that how ashy soil can give rise to luscious wines and fragrant vines.
Six Distnctinctive Territories With Unique Wine Style
Mainly, six regions of the Canary Islands produces wines, namely Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, La Palma, El Hierro, and La Gomera. Each area delivers a unique style of wine to the world, made with a blend of traditional and modern methods. Between them, there are 13 wineries and 225 vineyards. DO appellations cover the entire island except for Tenerife. All D.O. areas are distinctive in that it has its own microclimate and specific soil composition, creating unique, organoleptic-rich wines.
What are Canarian Wines Like
The Canaries boasts the oldest vines in Spain, almost about hundreds of years old. As the region locates far away from the mainlands, the disease named phylloxera never arrived here. Despite the hot climate and volcanic soil, the whites contribute much more than reds in wine production.
Popular wines produced on the Canary Islands wine region include Malmsey or Malvasia, Moscatel dessert wine, Marmajuelo, Tintilla, Rosé, and Listan Negro and Listan Blanco.
Winemakers of Canary Islands used to favour Malvasia grape varieties in the production of sweet wines, which was very popular among foreign travellers and also was easier to transport. Over the years, with the rise of tourist influence in the region, made winemakers to produce dry, acid-driven white wines.
Grape varieties: Muscatel, a white variety that can be discovered in almost all parts of the region, along with Malvasîa Volcánica, Listán Blanco, Forastera, and Diego. The red varieties mostly grown are Listán Negro, Baboso Negro, Vijariego Negro, Trousseau, Negramoll, to name a few.
Wines here can be roughly separated into two types white and red. Both of them have pole apart taste and texture. White grapes are sweet and juicy, while the reds are aromatic and fermented in stainless steel vats. In some parts of the Canary Islands, the wineries still use wooden oak barrels for ageing and refining of wines. A perfect blend of traditions and state-of-the-art technologies can be seen here. The fortified and dessert wines still have a unique place in the territory and have the potential to compete with the great wines of the world.
Apart from that, red and rose wines are still the trendiest ones, with some regions focusing more on producing them than others. Red wines are vinified in stainless-steel tanks and then aged in oak barrels to give them dominant characteristics and intense aroma. Other than that, fortified and dessert wines have managed to be on people’s favourite-list, and some specific parts of the Canary Islands dedicatedly deliver them.
Cultural and Natural Places to Visit on the Canary Islands
Adeje – A Jewel of Tenerife
Among the rolling hills of Teide and the Atlantic Ocean, it locates a charming town of the Canary Islands – Adeje. Here, you can discover a rich architectural history, together with panoramic landscape views. Get a chance to indulge in whale-watching and then explore the highest peak in Spain. The area is now is so developed that visitors can enjoy luxurious accommodation with a swimming pool facility and several other adventurous activities. The cuisines of Adeje are known worldwide because of their unique way of preparation. These exquisite cuisines can be enjoyed in a perfect setting, surrounded by picturesque landscapes.
Tías – A Place for Adventurers
One of the renowned tourist spots on the island is Tias. Everything here is worth cherishing – the charming villages nestled on a volcanic landscape are worth every minute of your expedition. There are excellent tourist facilities available throughout your tour to this 6km coastline. Puerto del Carmen is a massive coastal enclave of this amazing tourist place, where you can taste regional recipes available in almost all restaurants. Also, do not forget to spend some time in sports activities, such as scuba diving and fishing, two of the many jewels and famous water sports in the region. Take boat trips, accompanied by a guide where you can know about rare boar species. And in any of the eating points facing the sea and burst of sun, you can try the best cuisines, Lanzarote dish, to start with.
San Bartolomé de Tirajana – Mountains with Deep Gullies
A municipality, surrounding over a broad territory that expands from the heart to the south of Gran Canary, is a place of colorful culture. Its main hamlet, San Bartolomé, located inland, next to the Tirajana crater. Tirajana is an exquisite volcanic setting of steep slopes and abundant vegetation, especially vineyards. As you move south, you can witness the area with desert dunes, which was once a lush countryside. Some primary tourist centers like Maspalomas, Playa del Inglés, or San Agustín are the tourist-oriented places where visitors can relish water sports and sports on dry land, such as golf, hiking, trekking, and so much more.
Unspoiled Reserves and Parks
The archipelago also has four National Parks. The region surrounding the Canary Islands offers a range of cultural exposure which includes, sightseeing the monuments of San Cristóbal de La Laguna, recognized as the World Heritage designation by the UNESCO.
El Hierro – The Meridian Island
Clear skies, burst of the sun, and charming countryside – El Hierro is the combination of everything the Mother Nature has to offer to tourists. The weather of El Hierro is certain and that’s what makes it so special among visitors. On this smallest island, it rains only three days in a month and barely any rain in summer – a perfect climate to spend a getaway vacation, away from your home. The nights are incredible – perfect for couples to enjoy a romantic astronomy in the clear and bright sky. Besides that, the mild cold trade winds blow throughout the year due to El Hierro’s tropic location.
La Palma – Rare wildlife and Beach Adventures
The most appealing island of the Canary Islands, La Palma, is famous for its lush landscapes, imposing beaches, incredible volcanoes, deep cliffs, and so much more. At night, tourists can enjoy a blanket of stars in the sky, giving a breathtaking view of the astronomy – a fantastic place for star-gazers. In 2002, it became the UNESCO Heritage Site, a World Biosphere Reserve.
A guide will take you past waterfalls to La Palma’s peak from where the view of the entire island is unforgettable. Don’t miss out of visiting the La Palma Black sand beach, well-known for sunbathing, diving, and snorkelling. If you have enough time, spare it for Los Tilos Forest and discover some unique flora and fauna.
La Gomera – Beating Heart Of The Canary Islands
With an area of around 370 km2, La Gomera is the second-smallest island of the Canary Islands. Enriched with volcanic vibrations, it is a lush island with several mysterious trails that are still untouched. There are many places on this island still not discovered by many tourists and one of them is a tiny, 1962-built historic chapel, perched at Guara, near an abandoned town of Gerian. Most of the area in La Gomera is covered with volcanic cliffs, rippled with sand and aubergines. More on this island that not to be missed is a wall through Calle Real, where along the way you can enjoy your stay in a custom house and a church.
Unique Canarian Cuisine
This archipelago is famous for producing a vast array of seafood and local cuisines. Some of the uniques dishes of the region are influenced by the flavors of Africa and America, accompanied by Europe’s own traditional spices – making it one-of-a-kind combination of uniqueness and innovation.
Papas Arrugadas – Wrinkled Canarian Potatoes
Papas is the regional name for potatoes in the Canary Islands and in several areas of South America. The potatoes have gained a different texture and flavour because of the presence of volcanic activities over the years, perfect for making unique dishes. Without peeling, the papas are boiled in salty water for around half an hour. After 30 minutes, chefs empty the pan and add more salt over the papas until they dry. After that, the dish is served on the table, paired with mojo picón and voulá. Although the dish is quite plain, it sums up the entire archipelago in one bite.
Ropa Vieja – National Dish of Cuban
Confusing names are commonplace in Spanish gastronomy. This Cuban dish, named as Ropa vieja, means ‘old clothes’ in Spanish. Weird, right? However, don’t worry, it doesn’t have anything to do with old rags. Initially, when the dish was discovered, it was made from the leftovers of the puchero. In this cuisine, the ingredients include are chickpeas, meat, onion, and papas. Every house or restaurant has its own style and technique of making Ropa Vieja. No two samples of this dish will taste like. If you want to enjoy a traditionally-made Ropa Vieja, we recommend you visit Parador de las Cañadas del Teide.
Sancocho Canario – A Traditional Fish Dish
Sancocho Canario is a local speciality that beautifully reveals various gastronomic influences of the archipelago. The dish gain importance when people from several regions of Latin America moved to the Canary Islands. This traditional cuisine is prepared with completely cooked fish, served hot with sweet potato, gofio, and papas. It is a healthy and straightforward dish, topped with mojo picón. You can also make it at your home, too, with the right amount of sweetness, spiciness, and a touch of saltiness.
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Map of Wineries in Canary Islands wine region
Discover the long wine tradition of Canary Islands and discover some of the best wineries in this region
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