A Summer of Indulgent Island Wines – Tasting One of the Best… Suertes del Marques El Esquilon 2016

I visited the Suertes del Marques winery in August 2017 and tasted the 2016 reds in barrel just a few months before many were due to be bottled. The finished results are very impressive indeed and are definitely worth tracking down. But be warned, volumes of the Vino de Parcela wines are very small and highly sought after. So you will need to be quick!

The 2016 reds of Suertes del Marques signalled the dawning of a new(ish) era, being vinified by their new Portuguese rock star  winemaker Luis Seabra (ex-Niepoort) together with Tenerife local, Loles Pérez (ex-Cráter), after the departure of Roberto Santana (Envínate).

Despite the warmth of the 2016 vintage, the reds display impressive freshness after owner Jonatan Garcia Lima adjusted the picking dates and the vinifications to counterbalance the effects of the warmth and remove any chance of over ripeness in the fruit.

Loles and owner Jonatan at the winery processing the 2017 vintage grapes.

Suertes del Marques El Esquilon Vino de Parcela Listan Negro 2016, DO Valle de La Orotava, Tenerife, 12.5 Abv.

Another fantastic single parcel release from this top Tenerife winery. Made from pure 80+ year old vine Listan Negro grapes grown in the traditional “Cordon Trenzado” training system on volcanic soils at 450 to 550 meters altitude with a Northeast and East – West aspect. The grapes were fermented in concrete tanks with natural yeasts and wines were bottled unfiltered after 11 months ageing in 500 litre neutral French oak barrels. The colour is a wonderfully light translucent cherry red with almost no graduation in colour. Initially quite tight with restrained, stony, with slightly reductive aromatics, the wine slowly loosens its grip and releases wonderful perfumed notes of lilac, cherry blossom, red plum, spicy red apple and a pronounced sappy, stalk spice, basalt minerality. The palate is impressively elegant and decidedly polished but all the while boasting multiple layers of gravel, volcanic rock and graphite with suave sweet cranberry and pithy red cherry complexity. There is plenty of elegance, pinpoint textural focus, plenty of tension in a young Pinot Noir’esque Burgundian style. The wine finishes with an enchantingly fresh, piercing salty twang, yet more stony volcanic basalt minerality and a most delicious kiss of salty red liquorice. Probably a bit young to drink now despite its elegance and finesse, I would tuck these away for 2 to 3 years and drink over 5 to 8+ years.

(Wine Safari Score: 95/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

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