Not one to pass on a challenge especially when its mixed with a little history, I happily agreed to judge a tasting on Canary Wine this week at the Gastro Canarias event at the Recinto Ferial Tenerife. Also a great opportunity to wear my Yves Saint Laurent vintage dress, probably the same colour of the listan grape variety..
The event was organized by Betty Higuera Alvarez of The Recova´s Canary Wine Shop.
In fact Canary Island fortified wines were “hugely popular in Britain in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries” check out `a cup of canary´ in Twelfth Night. Probably because the vines grew on their own roots that were not struck by the phylloxera that had devistated France at the time.
The most popular grape varieties used for these particular sweet canary wines are Malvasia, Listan Blanco, and Moscatel although they are sure to be mixed with other varieites such as Verdello and Gual.
We tasted the 5 wines (see below), all available at Canary Wine La Recova, and I can assure you that I was probably one of the only ones that used the wine spittoon, because I dont have much of a head for wine especially when theyre 15-19 degrees proof. Although Betty thoughfully provided us with Torrijas, a Canary Island version of `French Toast´to soak up some of the alchohol.
So let me give you a peak at what I tried . And although the older wines were probably more representative of the original taste of Canary Wine of the 17th century, my favourite Altos de Trebejo made of Moscatel and Malvasia grape variety. Seriously it wasnt just the gorgeous shape of the bottle.
1. Arautava Blanco Dulce Gran Reserva 2002. Bodegas el Penitente DOP Valle de la Orotava.
2.El Legado de Camacho - Malvasia Aromatica DOP Valle de Guimar
3.Malvasia Aromatica - Brumas D Ayosa DOP Valle de Guimar
4.Aromas de Trevejos - limited edition- Altos de Trevejo S.L. DOP Abona
5.Humbold -Blanco Dulce 1992 - DOP Tacoronte Acentejo
All photography apart from the bottles are by Alejandro Garcia Mesa