Monday, September 09, 2013

La Gomera's Wines

Documented history relating to viti-/viniculture on La Gomera dates back to the 14th century, when, it is believed, the earliest vines were introduced to the island with the arrival of the first Europeans. In the 17th century, due to the collapse of the sugarcane trade,  vine growing and wine export became an important factor of the island’s economy, especially in the north. Towards the end of the 20th century, and thanks to the boost given by the La Gomera Viticulturists and Winemakers Association (Gomervin), the island’s wines finally achieved recognition, first as Vino de la Tierra, and some years later in December 2003, under DO status.
DO (Denominacion de Origen) La Gomera is made up of thirteen bodegas which boast a total vineyard surface-area of 120 hectares. Most of the vineyards are located in the island regions known locally as the ‘medianías altas’: Las Hayas, Arure, El Cercado, Igualero, Los Aceviños, Alajeró, Las Hayas, and the ‘medianías bajas’, Las Rosas, Tamargada and Hermigua. All these areas  make the region’s traditional and characteristic first-rate white wines. Famous for its rugged scenery, deep ravines and sheer cliffs, the appellation’s vines grow in exceptional conditions, planted on small terraces reclaimed from the island’s steep volcanic slopes which give rise to the unique landscape that is one of the island’s main attractions.
White wines:
With the Spanish conquest of La Gomera a Mediterranean grape variety, which had already been cultivated by the Romans, arrived on the island. While it became almost extinct in its places of origin over the centuries, it was further cultivated on La Gomera to become the 'Forastera Gomera' variety. It has a relatively low yield with small grapes and is grown very low near the volcanic ground. Recent DNA analysis has revealed the variety's uniqueness. Its potential was recognized only about a decade ago and now modern techniques and the latest know-how are used to produce quality dry whites with a distinct flavour.
Red Wines: 
La Gomera's red wines are mostly made from the red 'Listan Negro' grapes typical for the Canary Islands with other varieties like Tintilla, Tempranillo, Negro Molle and others added in smaller amounts. The island's reds are full of flavour and fruity, but dry. One vineyard in the north of the island invested a lot of work and now produces the first and excellent organic red wine named 'Tamargada' after the region where it is produced.

2013 should be a very good year for La Gomera's wines and harvesting the grapes has already begun in the lower lying regions. All the vineyards are very small and scattered over the steep terrain where all the back-breaking work has to be done by hand. This year promises a bumper harvest with almost double the amount of grapes of the previous year expected and all of an excellent quality. This is good news for farmers as La Gomera's vines still are of a relatively low yield compared to mainland Spain or even Tenerife.

1 comment :

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