2015 Dolores Cabrera Fernandez, La Araucaria Tinto, Valle de la Orotava, Tenerife, Canary Islands Spain.
Here’s an exciting new producer from one of the most wild wine regions on earth, the Canary Islands, it’s an old vine red made from Listan Negro, one of the historic mission grapes, grown on the windswept volcanic hillsides of Tenerife, an Island closer to Africa than Spain. Not until about 10 years ago did anyone take these wines seriously, but now that have truly found their niche and are highly sought after, with even a handful of producers reaching cult status like Suertes del Marques, Envinate, Fronton de Oro and Crater. One of the winemaking superstars from here, Roberto Santana, helps guide long time grower Dolores Cabrera Fernandez in her efforts, and it is a wine well worth searching out, imported by Jose Pastor Selections, it shows wonderful elegance and texture with exotic spices and a lighter medium bodied grace. This charming Listan Negro starts with delicate floral notes, red pepper spice, flinty/stony mineral and blueberry before layers of plum, fig, chalk dust and lavender unfold on the palate along with a certain salty character and earthy rustic element. This is not any other wine region and the wines are always unique, in some ways you see a similar quality to that of Mount Etna on Sicily, if you had to compare, but in many ways it would be unfair to do so, these are really soulful terroir wines in their own right. I was really impressed by this La Araucaria, and this is a wine I’ll be following in the future, this graceful and naturally pretty with lingering tangy/dusty fruits, pepper flakes and dried violets, I love it.
($24 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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