Wine of the Month
Featured Wine: La Araucaria Tinto
Grape Variety: 100% Listan Negro
Region: Tenerife, Valle De La Orotava (Canary Islands)
Demoniacion de Origen
100+ Year Old Vines
Minimal Intervention/Minial Sulfites
Vinification: Whole cluster carbonic maceration in stainless steel for 12 days. De-stemmed and then an additional skin maceration for 7 days. Pressed to finish fermentation.
Aging: Rest in stainless steel for 6 months before bottling without fining or filtering.
I feel like wine can take us to far away places if we let it; not in the tipsy sense, which is a whole other thing. If you don’t just drink the wine, but learn about it – where it came from, who made it, their inspiration – it can open doors into your imagination, your dreams, and give you new ideas for your future plans. When I first started looking into La Araucaria Tinto from the Canary Islands, I was brought back to my love of travel and the long list of places I want to visit.
La Araucaria is named after a native tree in the Canary Islands, which already piqued my interest. If someone is aware of their surroundings enough to appreciate a native tree, it gives me confidence that they respect their surroundings. They grow grapes on the land in a way that respects the soil, the terrain, the everything. Dolores Cabrera Fernandez does just that when she creates her wines organically, using proper growing techniques, braiding the vines to keep the air circulating and naturally avoid mold (a practice only performed in La Orotava). Besides the help she gets from her husband Pedro, the vineyard is run primarily by women; like many Southern Italian winemakers, this Spanish winemaker believes women are more skilled with the handling of grapes.
Dolores Cabrera Fernandez has a joy about her, loving what she does, inspiring other farmers to use organic techniques. Honestly, look at her picture – she really is the epitome of joy. She emanates a happiness and peace that is rare. What a beautiful wine to land in my lap, right amidst the dog days of summer.
The color is a true garnet and feels familiar to many Spanish Tinto table wines, but that is where the familiarity ends; the rest of this wine experience is unique. The indigenous grape, Listan Negro, is said to have no other genetic relation to ANY other grapes on the planet.
After you let the wine breathe for 15 minutes, you will be greeted with a nose filled with earthy mushroom, black fruits, raisin, spiced with a hint of wild flowers and leather. It is a beautiful aroma and will make your mouth water. The palate is complex, well rounded and yummy. To start, the black fruit will greet you along with warm pepper, while the exquisite tannins and strong acidity move in for a long finish that leaves the tiniest amount of clove and red cherry lingering, leaving you longing for more, more and more. La Araucaria does have some powerful acidity and hypnotizing tannins, but guess what? You can definitely drink this wine without food. Something about the way each note dances off of the other, how the finish is long and lovely – it works.
My first pairing was with a Peruvian Lomo Saltado, and it was gorgeous. La Araucaria Tinto embraced the sirloin steak and the fusion of Latin and Asian flavors so well, the pepper and black fruit of the wine really complimented the meat, onions and saltiness of the subtle soy sauce. Making such a meal is not necessary, a simple grilled steak with an oil and rice vinegar (or citrus) salad dressing and bread is also perfect. When I had my second pairing I thought, why did I work so hard for the first pairing? This is much simpler and just as wonderful. When I experience a wine that is produced near open waters, I always want to pair it with seafood or fish and have no doubt that a herbaceous roasted whole white fish would pair fantastically, but that is not always an option when you are 7,000 feet high. If you have the option, go for it.
It is so hot here (too hot for flowers, they wilt within hours). Luckily for you, the label is beautiful, a lovely depiction of the Araucaria tree and can definitely be used as your center piece. And as this wine is delicious, make sure you have enough for everyone to enjoy more than one glass. When I am entertaining, especially in warm weather, I like to place the bottles of wine in a shallow bowl of ice water; it keeps the wine at an ideal temperature and I like the way it looks. I chose my soundtrack solely based on the weather. When it is super hot out, I love listening to G Love & Special Sauce, and you should too – so good.
Sometimes I feel redundant when saying if you have the option, share this wine with the people you love, but wine is more fun when you have someone to experience it with. Hey, if you don’t, that’s okay too! La Araucaria Tinto is the perfect wine to sip after a rough day. While I write these reviews, I look to my notes and always get a kick out of the notes that occur after my second glass of wine. On this occasion, I found a little note at the bottom saying, ‘This is the perfect wine to enjoy on a night you are sad. I don’t know, maybe you were dumped or maybe your kids gave you a hard time, it will cheer you up.’ (I do love my tipsy notes).
Please, please check out this amazing, organic, female created, beautiful red wine. Let it wash over you in all of its beauty.
Quien No Apoya, No Folla!