This month, Lanzarote will begin its wine harvest – the earliest to take place anywhere in Europe. Grapes will be picked from more than a thousand plots located all over the island: in back gardens, in the craters of volcanos, in the bizarre landscape of La Geria and in the malpais (badlands) of the north.
The result is wines that are rapidly earning a reputation way beyond the Canary Islands for excellence and innovation; bottles that regularly win awards at some of the most important wine contests in the world and, most importantly of all, reflect the traditions and culture of Lanzarote more than perhaps any other products. As wine expert Cristina Alcalá said recently, Lanzarote wine is “craftsmanship in a bottle.”
That craftsmanship is mainly based around one grape – the malvasía volcánica – which has been cultivated here for centuries, and which local growers know backwards. It is this grape that provides the majority of the crisp, fragrant young white wines for which Lanzarote is famed.
But there also some excellent young reds and rosés, as well as splendid sparkling wines – and Lanzarote has never been afraid to satisfy its sweet tooth through dulces and dessert wines.
Wine is also a central part of the island’s tourist appeal – responsible for unforgettable landscapes and fascinating tradition, as well as the perfect accompaniment to the perfect holiday meal on a sundappled terrace.
Over the next pages, we take a closer look at every aspect of enjoying Lanzarote wine, and lift a glass to this year’s harvest. Salud!
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