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Sunday, August 20, 2006

History of Ycoden-Daute-Isora Wine Region

2005 harvest

Wine searcher say, "Ycoden-Daute-Isora is the most ancient but most recently Denominated of Spain's regions. The best dry white wines in Tenerife, from the Listan Blanco grape, are made here." (I think the reds are even better.)

The region of Ycoden-Daute-Isora, which was constituted in 1994, started with 800 hectares and now has more than 2,000 hectares of vines, most of them with the varieties of listan blanca and listan negro. It includes the areas of San Juan de la Rambla, Guia de Isora, La Guancha, Icod de los Vinos, Garachico, Los Silos, Buenavista del Norte, El Tanque and Santiago del Teide. This recently created Denomination of Origin, which takes its name from early Guanche kingdoms and dominions, from the far western side of the island of Tenerife is a recognition of the ancient wine growing pedigree of the region with its recognized centres like Icod de los Vinos and La Guancha.

Wine growing began here in the 16th and 17th Centuries and is inseparable from the history of the islands themselves. Being almost the only economy, both locally and of Tenerife at that time, had a determining influence on the customs, the landscape, the history, the art and the culture of the area.

The Canary Islands being then an obligatory stop between Europe and America, exported the famous "Canary" wine from the port of Garachico. It was to the wines of this region that William Shakespeare was referring, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, saying, "Canary, a marvellous and penetrating wine that perfumes the blood."

Walking among the vines in the El Palmar Valley

Today it is an area of small but vigorous wineries with new ideas. The vineyards grow in small terraces built into the slopes of the mountains, generally, between altitudes of 200 and 800 meters and, the rich volcanic soil and mild climate give the wine its own unique aroma. The whites obtained from the Listan Blanco and Malvasia species predominate but the red, made mainly out of Listan Negro and Negramoll are velvety to the palate and have an unique character.

A long, phylloxera-free past in Tenerife has allowed twenty-seven wine-making grape varieties to survive. Authorized varieties in the Ycoden-Daute-Isora region include; Bastardo blanco, Bermejuela, Forastera blanca, Gual, Listán blanco and Listán negro, Malvasía, Moscatel, Pedro Ximénez, Sabro, Torrontés, Verdello, Vijariego (blancas), Bastardo negro, Negramoll, Tintilla, Malvasía rosada, Moscatell negra and Vijariego negro (tintas).

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