Last month, we took a guided tour of Bodegas Stratvs, the stunning winery that has raised the bar for quality on Lanzarote.
Our guide, Yurena, whose enthusiasm and humour are infectious, leads us up to the vineyard where the vines are currently “taking a siesta” after the summer harvest, and before the hard prune in February that begins the new cycle of grape production. Surrounded by vines, some of which are over 100 years old, with one of the most dramatic views on the island in front of us, we realise how unique this place is.
Yurena shows us how Lanzarote’s malvasia vines have learnt to “crouch down” against the wind, while newer arrivals still tend to grow upwards; then shows us how the volcanic picón preserves moisture from rain and dew. Immediately, we can smell the earthy, mineral volcanic aroma of Lanzarote’s soil.
Then it’s a visit to what must be one of the most impressive workplaces on the island – an immense cellar where grapes are received, crushed, fermented, stored and bottled. Designed by Rafael del Castillo and architect Javier Matallana, it’s cool, beautifully lit by large circular lamps, and lined with gleaming, state of the art equipment and dozens of wooden barrels.
This is where around 15 staff (who Yurena smilingly calls “the Minions”) carry out and monitor every stage of the process. We wander along broad gangways where the grapes are initially received, then descend a spiral staircase to examine huge wooden vats and a room full of 225-litre oak barrels from France, each one labelled with the date and type of grape.
Finally, we head back down to the restaurant area and relax in the shade of one of the huge eucalyptus trees on the patio. We’re served a glass of Finca de las Palmeras – a white malvasia wine that has been aged over lees in oak barrels, adding complexity and depth to a wine that’s usually drunk when young.
Yurena describes how the first aroma of wine derives from the grape variety; the second from the fermentation process and the third from the storage method. Every bottle contains these notes, and a light, floral rosé highlights the contrasts that can be smelt and tasted.
We finish with an award-winning Moscatel dessert wine, sweet but not at all cloying, and although it’s only early November, this undeniably Christmassy wine leaves us feeling merry and festive.
As well as guided visits, Bodegas Stratvs is home to the El Aljibe del Obispo restaurant, which serves amazing dishes created from produce from the nearby Finca de Uga; and there’s an excellent shop as well. Over Christmas, the bodega’s nativity scene is also another charming attraction.
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