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Monday, September 18, 2006

Tenerife Wine That Cures

Blackberry BramblesYeah, any excuse! :) Interesting story in Sunday's EL DÍA about the production of vino de mora (blackberry or bramble wine) in Taganana in the Anaga mountains in the north east corner of Tenerife. Apparently, this exclusive mixture that has been made for their own use in the area for years, is known for its curative properties on internal injuries.

Antonio Negrín, who was born in Taganana in 1953, is, they say, perhaps better known as a local Policeman in the Tenerife capital, Santa Cruz, a profession he has undertaken for the last 23 years, than he is for being one of the only three or four agriculturists who remain faithful to the traditional elaboration of blackberry wine.

Negrín, a member of the fifth generation of the family, who have lived in Taganana since around 1880, says that demand has exploded in recent years, because of the rumoured curative properties and the rise in homeopathic and natural medicine.

The makers of this wine guard the secrets of its process of elaboration jealously. Some have diluted it - sacrificing quality - in order to make enough to keep up with demand and, says Negrín, there are really only two or three bramble bushes.

What struck me is how, only 50 or so miles away in the north west, here in the El Palmar valley, almost all the paths and roadsides are lined with bramble bushes, yet there does not seem to be any tradition of using this fruit for any purpose and appears not valued at all. Shortly after they had blossomed this year, the council came and cut them back so hard at the roadsides, that hardly any fruit was to be had.

In other years, I have found things to do with the surfeit, because I can't stand to see anything wasted. Didn't get around to wine making, however, but I do think this is a demonstration of the typical circumstance on this island, which, because of the steep geography and, until recent times, difficulties in communications between one area and another, has developed quite different and distinct traditions and cultures.

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