The Canary Islands, located in the Atlantic ocean off the coast of Southern Morocco, supposedly derived their name from the large dogs (cane) that inhabited the islands when the Spanish arrived. Because of their unique subtropical location and weather patterns, the north slope of Tenerife boasts the “World’s most perfect weather”, so the locals claim. Temperatures range from 60-75F (15-22C) year round which make for perpetual spring-like conditions, and banana plantations exist side by side with prime vineyard sites. This unique situation in the fine wine growing world seems to have caused the development of the Cordon Trenzado (braided) style of pruning where 10-20 meter long cordons stretch out from the mother trunk. 200+ year old pre-philoxera vines are common in the Valle de la Orotava and Jonatan Garcia Lima has taken on the mission of preserving this unique style of vineyard management on the slopes of El Teide, the highest peak in Spain and, measured from the ocean floor, the third highest volcano in the world. In fact, the island of Tenerife is one giant volcano where sea level stands about chest high.
Jonatan’s father, a successful builder in La Orotava, began purchasing small plots of vineyards in 1986, selling the grapes to local winemakers. He soon realized that prime vineyard sites were being purchased, torn up and either replanted using modern techniques or developed into housing. He then decided that it should be his goal to purchase and preserve as many traditional vineyards in the Valle de la Orotava DO. Jonatan’s return to the family estate and passion for hands-on farming is the logical extension of his father’s foresight.
Returning in 2006, and already successful in a separate business career, Jonatan took over the commercial side of the estate and hired a winemaker and vineyard manager. After several years and many travels through the wine world, it became clear that his passion for the vineyard sites, organic farming and minimal intervention winemaking were not shared by those that were working for him. As he became more passionate about this amazingly complex world of fine wine, he soon realized that the managers in place were getting in the way of the huge potential of the estate. He has never looked back since, applying himself with superhuman energy to the pursuit of understanding the huge variety of vineyard sites available to him and painstakingly organizing his vineyards and the resulting wines in a terroir driven pursuit that would make Burgundians proud. Vineyard sites bear names like El Ciruelo, El Chibirique, El Esquilon and La Solana while the varietal mix is a treasure trove of lost and little known grapes like Listan Negro and Blanco, Malvasia Rosado, Vijariego, Baboso Negro and more.
The resulting wines show an impressive level of precision and tension for anywhere, let alone the Canary Islands. Grape varietals that are perfectly suited to soil type and elevation (300-700 meters) are crafted into wines through minimal intervention practices, thus preserving their unique terroir stamp of textures and aromatics in a delicious transparent format. To achieve this, indigenous yeast fermentations are the norm while the wines are rarely fined or filtered. The winery is equipped with concrete vats for fermentations and aging as well as 500L French oak puncheons. Minimal racking and SO2 use round out the program. The wines are pure and without artifice showing showing bright, fresh textures and a strong underlying volcanic mineral texture. They are extremely versatile and very food friendly, but most of all they are a time-machine back to an era where finesse and mineral backbone were the hallmark of most great wines.
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