Ready for a toast that tastes like paradise with an Atlantic twist? The Canary Islands offer more than just sun-kissed beaches; they’re also the birthplace of some of the most astonishingly vibrant natural wines you’ll ever sip. Picture a glass swirling with tropical aromas and a hint of sea salt, a wine that dances on your taste buds as if you’re standing barefoot on the sand, gazing out at the ocean. Join us on this sun-soaked, flavor-packed journey as we explore the natural wines of the Canary Islands. Cheers, wine adventurer!
What is natural wine, anyway?
Natural wine is crafted with the least amount of human and technological intervention possible. Grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or other chemicals, it’s made without adding or removing anything during the fermentation process.
Natural wine is a love letter to Mother Earth, a pure expression of the vineyard it hails from. It’s born from a respectful partnership between the soil and the winemaker, free from chemical or artificial meddling. Each vine is nurtured with care, and every grape is harvested as if it were a treasure.
In your glass, this wine unfolds like a river of flavor and aroma, transporting you to the very special corner of the world where it was created. It’s a liquid tale of sunshine and rain, of passion and patience.
Characteristics of natural wines
Natural wines are celebrated for their authentic flavors, capturing the true essence of the grape and the terroir where it was cultivated. They often boast a complexity and unique personality all their own.
In essence, natural wine offers a rich and intricate tasting experience. Each glass is an invitation to explore and connect with the land and tradition. It’s a wine for those who seek the authentic, the pure, and the unexpected—a celebration of winemaking art in its most sincere and respectful form.
Criteria for a Natural Wine
- The grapes are grown using organic, biodynamic, or permaculture farming techniques and are hand-harvested at their peak.
- Fermentation occurs naturally, without the addition of commercial yeasts, and malolactic fermentation develops without the intervention of external bacteria.
- Adjustments to components like sugar, acidity, color, or alcohol content are not permitted.
- The wine should not undergo aggressive clarification or filtration processes; in many cases, filtration is skipped altogether.
- Stabilization is achieved without the use of chemical or industrial enological methods, preserving its natural state.
- Micro-oxygenation, as well as any other procedure that might simulate or accelerate natural winemaking processes, is strictly prohibited. No added sulfites are used in the making, maintaining the wine’s integrity and purity.
Grape Cultivation: Vineyards for natural wine production are cultivated organically or biodynamically. Synthetic chemicals are avoided, with special attention given to the health of the soil and the surrounding environment.
The winemaking process in natural wine production is minimalistic. Fermentation is carried out with wild yeasts, and the use of additives and processes like filtration or pasteurization is avoided.
Environmentally Conscious Natural wine is more than just a taste preference; it’s a statement of principles in favor of sustainability and respect for our planet. Here’s why:
- Organic and Biodynamic Farming: Natural wine production avoids pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers, benefiting the soil and its inhabitants, and promoting a balanced and fertile ecosystem.
- Chemical Reduction: By not using additives and chemicals in the winemaking process, pollution to water and soil is minimized, resulting in a lower environmental impact compared to conventional wine production.
- Low Interventions: Natural wines are produced with a minimal intervention philosophy, meaning less energy is used in the production process, reducing the winery’s carbon footprint.
- Promoting Biodiversity: Organic and biodynamic grape cultivation encourages biodiversity in the vineyard, benefiting both flora and fauna, and creating an environment where various species can coexist and thrive.
- Recycling and Sustainability: Many wineries that produce natural wine also implement sustainable practices in their daily operations, like recycling and using renewable energy, reinforcing their commitment to the environment.
- Water Conservation: Natural wine cultivation often emphasizes water conservation, using efficient irrigation techniques or relying on natural rainfall, thus preserving this vital resource.
In essence, natural wine represents a holistic approach to viticulture, where every aspect of the process is considered in relation to the natural environment. Opting for natural wines is, in many ways, a choice in favor of the environment—a way to enjoy life’s pleasures while respecting and preserving the nature that provides us with such precious nectar.
Natural wine in the Canary Islands
The Canary Islands, are fast becoming an epicenter for natural viticulture. The unique geography, climate, and winemaking traditions are giving rise to a wave of wineries committed to natural wine production, creating exceptional products that are a true reflection of these magical islands.
- Unique Natural Features: The Canary terroir is unparalleled. With mineral-rich volcanic soils, a constant sea breeze, and a subtropical climate, the islands offer an ideal environment for grape cultivation. The variety of microclimates allows for a diversity of indigenous grapes that thrive in these natural conditions.
- Pioneering Wineries: An increasing number of Canary Island wineries are adopting natural and organic viticulture practices. This is a return to ancestral traditions, respecting nature’s cycles, avoiding chemicals, and minimizing intervention in the winery. Passionate winemakers are leading this movement, creating wines that express the authentic essence of the islands.
- Distinctive Flavor and Aroma: Natural wines from the Canary Islands offer a palette of flavors and aromas that testify to their volcanic origin. Mineral notes, salty undertones, and refreshing acidity combine in wines as varied and surprising as the islands themselves.
- Sustainability and Environmental Respect: Natural viticulture practices align perfectly with respect for the unique environment of the Canary Islands. Water conservation, responsible soil use, and the promotion of biodiversity are key aspects reflecting a commitment to sustainability.
- International Recognition: Canary natural wines are gaining recognition and appreciation globally. Critics, sommeliers, and wine lovers are discovering the uniqueness and quality of these wines, putting the Canary Islands on the map as a standout region in the world of natural wine.
Our Sommelier’s tips for choosing the best natural wine
- Origin and Certification: Verify the wine’s origin and look for certifications that ensure it has been produced under natural wine standards. The label should provide information about the winery and region, as well as any organic or biodynamic certifications.
- Grape Variety: Knowing the variety or varieties of grape used will give you an idea of the flavors and aromas to expect. The grapes should be grown without pesticides or herbicides, and their selection should resonate with your personal preferences in terms of taste and body.
- Production Method: Research the winemaking methods employed. Natural wines are usually produced with minimal intervention, without adding or removing anything during their production. This includes not using additional sulfites, which are common in conventional winemaking.
- Vintage: The vintage, or harvest year, can significantly influence the wine’s flavor, especially in natural wines where climatic conditions have a strong impact. Look for vintages from years when conditions have been favorable in the production region.
- Recommendations and Reviews: Don’t hesitate to seek expert opinions, reviews, or ask for recommendations at your local specialized store. A sommelier or a seller specialized in natural wines can guide you toward a selection that suits your tastes and needs.
Buying canary natural wine online
Natural wine: A philosophy and way of life
Natural wine is far more than a trend; it’s a philosophy and a way of life for many winemakers and consumers alike. Its ethical and environmentally-friendly production, coupled with its unique and complex flavors, makes it an unparalleled choice for true wine aficionados. The invitation is open to explore and savor these wines that capture the purity and essence of nature in every sip.