Sortevera - Las Islas Canarias Vino Blanco 2018
Listán Blanco, Marmajuelo, Gual, Forastera, and Vijariego Blanco
Sortevera is a new project from owner/winemaker Jonatan Garcia Lima of Suertes del Marques and viticuluralist Jose Angel Alonso Ramos. The vineyards are in the now famous Taganana area located on the Northeast portion of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. This remote corner of the island features an extremely rugged and steep landscape with precarious cliffs of volcanic rock that descend right on the ocean. Amazingly, this area of Tenerife has a long history of growing grapes and making wine. So, many of the vineyards are 80-100+ years old. The name, Sortevera, originates from this particular area of the island, meaning the “way to pass through”.
Taganana has become somewhat famous through a few other projects where the grapes were sourced from there, particularly with the single parcel bottlings from Margalagua and Amogoje both owned by Jose Angel and now the framework of Sortevera. Beginning with the 2018 vintage, Jose Angel partnered with Jonatan to bring us Sortavera, using these same top parcels. These parcels are field blends of many varieties such as Marmajuelo, Gual, Forastera, Listan Blanco and Vijariego Blanco for whites, and Vijariego Negro, Listan Gacho, Malvasia Rosada, Listan Negro and Negramoll for reds (among others). All the vines of Jose Angel are ungrafted and trained in a very low to the ground goblet fashion. Given the proximity to the ocean and north facing exposition on the cooler, often cloud-covered side of the island, it helps to temper the more extreme conditions of this fairly southern latitude (off the coast of southern Morocco!).
Sortevera consists of three wines made from grapes from Margalagua, Amogoje and Fajanetas, including a White, Red and a Clarete which is a blend of white and red that is traditional in parts of Spain. Clarete is typically referred to as “rosé” in the US because it tends to be pink(ish) in color but in reality it is its own thing – a wine deeper and richer than most whites with some aromatics and flavors of a red, and obviously more ageable than pink wine. All the wines are field blends, harvested by hand and fermented with indigenous yeast. The Blanco has 50% of its grapes vinified with skin contact for some added texture. All the wines see time in neutral 500 L French oak barrels for 10 months. All are bottled with minimal sulphur.
Jonatan feels that the wines from this area tend to be “a bit more wide in the mouth” compared to his Suertes wines from the Orotava Valley to the west. PH’s are a bit higher, but there is still plenty of acid. Given the mix of grapes and rugged terroir, they come across as a bit more “wild”. As with Suertes, these are truly singular wines from one of the world’s most amazing and unique wine regions!