Trenzado, Suertes del Marques, Valle de la Orotava, Tenerife 2017

Trenzado, Suertes del Marques 2012.jpg
Trenzado, Suertes del Marques 2012.jpg

Trenzado, Suertes del Marques, Valle de la Orotava, Tenerife 2017


The 2012 vintage of Trenzado was the very first wine we bought when we set up Vin Cognito at the end of 2014. We took a punt on 120 bottles. Some might say it was a bold opening move for a new company, but we bought it because we loved it and we hoped we could communicate that enthusiasm to all the brave souls who had agreed to climb aboard our bandwagon. We have followed every vintage since then and they have all been great, but this vintage, the 2017, is something else altogether. It’s the wine that we suspected had always been waiting in the wings, the understudy-turned-diva, and now, with her voice fully warmed up, she is ready to sing.

What’s the fuss all about? Well, imagine how a great Meursault from someone like Coche Dury or Lucien Le Moine would taste if the vines were planted on the side of a volcano in the Atlantic Ocean, as these are. The aromas are simply mesmerising. So much so that I challenge you not to spend at least five minutes swirling it under your nose before even putting it to your lips. It has the ‘struck flint’ aromas of a reductive white Burgundy (à la Coche-Dury, Leflaive, Roulot, Le Moine etc), but there’s also a sense of the wild, untamed Atlantic and the brooding presence of Tenerife’s mighty volcano, El Teide, so when you put it all together, you get a thrilling, sea-sprayed shipwreck of grapefruits, gunpowder, lemons, pumice, oyster shells and honeysuckle. It shouldn’t work, but it really, really does. The matchstick aromas linger like wispy gunsmoke after a naval skirmish, but they give space for the other flavours to shine too, allowing for a wonderful combination of zesty citrus fruit, saline freshness and granitic minerality.

We make no apologies for loving this style of white wine, and acknowledge that it won’t please every palate, but if, like us, you crave exciting wines informed by their place of origin, then don’t hesitate. Oh, and don’t drink it all on day one, it’s even better on day two and three, becoming even grander (like a Batard-Montrachet made by pirates). It’s made almost entirely from Listan Blanco (95%), but with tiny amounts of other local varieties including Gual, Marmajuelo, Baboso Blanco, Albillo Criollo, Vijariego Blanco and Verdello 13.5% alc. Drink now-2024.

Press reviews:

The Wine Advocate: “The first of two whites is the 2017 Trenzado, from six very old vineyards in the Valle de la Orotava planted mostly with Listán Blanco and some 2% other varieties (Torrontés, Gual, Marmajuelo, Albillo Criollo, Malvasía, Vijariego Blanco...) on very poor soils. After a soft pressing and settling in stainless steel, the must fermented with indigenous yeasts in a combination of 500-liter barrels and 2,500- and 4,500-litre oak foudres, where the wire matured for nine months. It has a leesy nose (sesame seeds?) with a faintly reductive character, quite Burgundian if you ask me, with a touch of oak (the foudres were new). It's pungent and persistent, with very focused flavours and a clean, tasty finish. 17,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in August 2018. Drink 2019-2022.” 93 points

Greg Sherwood MW: “This Listan Blanco 6 parcel blend reveals a more lifted, exotic, fragrant nose than Vidonia brimming with yellow citrus pastille, waxy lemon peel, struck match reduction, maritime salinity and a wet chalk mineral note. Lovely fleshy concentration and depth with real class and complexity. Not quite the same textural delineation as Vidonia but wow, this wine packs a punch for a super price!” 93 points

Jamie Goode: “From the west part of the Orotava Valley, which has more basalt and less clay, and six different vineyards. One is matured in a 4500 litre foudre, two in 2500 litre foudres, and three in 500 litre barrels. This is fresh and fine with nice reductive minerality. Lemons, minerals a touch of wax, and such precision and finesse.“ 93 points

Tenerife, situated off the north African coast, is the largest of the Canary Islands and is dominated by the massive volcano, El Teide, the highest point in Spain and one of the world’s largest volcanic structures at 12,000 feet above sea level (24,000 feet above the ocean floor!). It protects the south of the island from Atlantic squalls, but it’s on the cooler, northern part of the island, in the green valley of La Orotava, that Suertes del Marques is based. Their vineyards climb the lower slopes of El Teide, between 1,000 and 2,000 feet above sea level, and the vines are planted on their original rootstock, as phylloxera never reached Tenerife, so some of their vines are nearly 150 years old. The unusual training system of braiding the vines, known as el cordon trenzado, gives its name to the wine.

Winemaker, Luis Seabra, pursues a strictly hands-off philosophy, flirting with natural wine ideologies and following some biodynamic practices, without going full ‘moon child’. Minimal sulphur dioxide is used (those matchstick aromas come from the soil), fermentations are initiated by wild yeasts, and the wine is never filtered or fined. Most of the grapes are fermented in stainless steel vats, but a smaller portion are fermented with their skins in concrete tanks. The wine is then aged for 8 months in concrete and large, old, French oak casks. The naturally low yields from those gnarly old vines confer great intensity of flavour while still retaining acidity and freshness, so the wines have terrific vibrancy and energy.

Customer comments:

“Wow! That sassy smokiness and brisk salinity work so well – seriously impressive.” - Mr. T.P.

“I think it's delicious. Great food wine - almonds, or bbq fish... Good to try something different!” - Mr H.A.

“Tried one of my Trenzado, Suertes del Marques, Valle de la Orotava, Tenerife 2017 last night, have to say it wasn’t really for me.” - Mr B.O.

”It’s absolutely terrific!” - Mr. P.C.

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Farming: organic