In the ancient Greek world legend had it that the Garden of the Hesperides was a bountiful and blissful plot tended by the mythological nymphs of the same name. More recent legend has it that this alluring allotment is to be found in the Orotara Valley on the cooler northern side of the Atlantic island of Tenerife. Perhaps it is no surprise then that the wines of Suertes del Marques, coming as they do from a place of such ancient repute, have garnered a fine reputation for their wines.
From a small, 9 hectare estate on steep slopes at the foot of the Pico del Teide volcano, owner Jonatan Garçia Lima and winemaker Roberto Santana oversee the hand harvesting of fruit from indigenous listan negra vines, all of which are ungrafted and phylloxera free, and some of which are over 100 years old. A local method of vine training, the el cordon trenzado, or braided cord system, where canes are ‘braided’ together to create a more open canopy, is a testament to bygone times when polyculture was the order of the day and such a method allowed space for the farming of other fruits and vegetables.
Volcanic soils and the altitude of up to 600 metres give the grapes, and consequently the wine, a freshness that is very much an expression of the place in which they are grown.
Twenty-one separate parcels are picked and vinified individually, using naturally occurring yeasts, in stainless-steel and concrete tanks, with only a small proportion of the red wines seeing time in used French oak. Intervention is kept to a minimum.
To allow the wines to retain as much character as possible they are neither clarified nor filtered before bottling.
For an enterprise only founded in 2006, Suertes del Marques are forging a unique and widely admired path from a region less well known than it should be.