Look north from the La Geria bodega to the horizon and you’ll see an unending sea of volcanic ash and gravel, dotted with the horse-shoe shaped walls that are the hallmark of this landscape and stretching towards the mystical volcanoes in the distance.
This beautiful view is less than 250 years old. Before 1730 you’d have seen fields of wheat, peas and barley, and several small villages. This was all buried by the massive eruptions that threw up those distant volcanoes and shook the island for six years.
For decades, no one worked the ash and lava. Then, one day, someone dug a deep pit in the layer of ash and gravel and planted a vine in the soil that lay beneath. Lanzarote had discovered its new calling.
Today, Lanzarote has its own denomination of origin, and the island’s winemakers have been progressing in leaps and bounds to produce some of the most unique wines in Spain. The island’s wine trade is already miles ahead of what it was 20 years ago, and things only seem to be getting better.
Here’s your guide to consuming local wine.
Types of Wine
These are the main types of wine you’ll find on Lanzarote.
Seco: Dry white (with < 5 gr of residual sugar per litre).
Semi-seco: Medium-dry (with < 12 gr of residual sugar per litre).
Semi-dulce: Medium (with < 45 gr of residual sugar per litre).
Dulce: Sweet (> 45 gr residual sugar per litre.)
As you can see, a semi-dulce wine is considerably sweeter than the two drier categories.
Espumoso: Lanzarote offers a handful of sparkling wines in the Brut (dry) style.
Moscatel: The most common dessert wine on the island, sweet and complex.
Rosado: Rosé wines are popular on Lanzarote – their delicate pink colouring and refreshing flavour is well-suited to light seafood meals.
Tinto: Red wine. Most reds on Lanzarote are joven (young), matured for less than a year, although longer-oak-matured crianzas and the occasional reserva can also be found.
Several types of grape are grown on Lanzarote, but one strain in particular defines the island – malvasía volcánica.
Malvasía volcánica: The aromatic malvasía grape reaches its most unique expression in Lanzarote, where an entirely new cultivation method was invented to coax sweetness and flavour from the volcanic ashes that covered the island 240 years ago.
These vines are the only ones in Europe to have escaped the phylloxera blight of the 19th century, and have never been grafted with American rootstock. The average age of a malvasía vine on Lanzarote is 30 years, but many are well over a hundred years old.
Other white grapes grown here include the fascinating Diego and lesser-known Canarian strains such as Burrablanca and Breval.
Listán negro: The tight-packed bunches of Listán negro are the most widely-used black grape on Lanzarote, and are used for most red and rosé wines. Red wine production is increasing, and growers have been making huge strides in recent years.
Listán negro grapes are also used for blanc de noirs white wines, such as those by Martinón and Vulcano.
Other black grapes grown here include Negramoll, Syrah and Caubernet Sauvignon.
Moscatel: A complex, sweet grape that is harvested late to increase sugar content and used for dessert wines. The Pedro Ximénez and Listán Blanco grapes are also used for sweet or fortified wines.
There are 21 officially registered bodegas (wineries) on Lanzarote. They range from extensive establishments that are open to visitors, such as La Geria and El Grifo, to small operations that are hardly larger than a garage.
Some bodegas grow their own grapes, others source them from farmers on the island, and many combine both.
Most bodegas produce several wines, marketed under the bodega’s name, or other brand names for specific wines.
Akaet: Small independent bodega in Tinajo, run by Juan Daniel Ramírez.
Bermejo: Located in La Geria at the foot of the pretty Juan Bello volcano, named after the founder of the bodega.
El Grifo: The oldest bodega in the Canaries, founded in 1775. Other brands: Ariana, Chimidas, Ana.
El Morro: Small Tinajo-based bodega.
Femés: The first bodega in Femes was launched in 2019.
Finca Fajardo: Bodega in La Vegueta working entirely with Listán Negro grapes.
Guiguan: Small family bodega based in the heart of Tinajo.
La Florida: Beautiful bodega near San Bartolomé. Other brands: Jameo.
La Geria: 19th century bodega in the heart of La Geria’s wine country.
La Geria is open to the public and hosts an annual wine festival on 15th August. Other brands: Manta, Eco.
La Grieta: The northernmost bodega in the island, which uses grapes grown at altitudes of 500m and matures its red “Tinto Submarino” under the sea.
La Mareta: Small bodega based opposite the Cactus Garden in Guatiza.
Lanzarote Natural: Ecological shop in Tinajo. Other brands: T de Tinajo, Bodega La Morra.
Martinón: Masdache-based bodega founded by the Martinón family in 2006. Other brands: Mayor Guerra.
Puro Rofe: Named after rofe, the volcanic gravel that vines are grown in, this new bodega is based in Conil, Tías.
Reymar: Bodega set up in 1995 by the Perdomo siblings. Other brands:Vino Los Perdomos.
Rubicón: Beautiful bodega in a 300-year-old building in La Gería, with centuries-old eucalyptus trees outside. Other brands: Amalia.
Stratvs: A stunning bodega that produces award-winning wines.
Tierra de Volcanes: Yaizabased bodega. Tisalaya: Miguel Morales is dedicated to creating “exquisite” white wines from the Diego grape. Other brands: La Vegueta.
Valle de Malpaso: Haríabased bodega.
Vega de Yuco: This large Masdache-based bodega produces several popular wines. Other brands: Princesa Gara, Esencia Yaiza, +Dach, Riscos de Famara. Aurum.
Vulcano: Impressive wines from this bodega, which has an attractive shop in Tías.
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