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Canary Islands

Another essentially under-explored region to rise in the past decade is the Canary Islands. Borja Perez is a star of the Canary Island wine scene, specifically Tenerife, and one of the pioneers who has managed to grab the attention of wine enthusiasts the world over. Over the past few years, Tenerife and its surrounding islands have become a veritable hotspot for innovative, small scale wine production; a far cry from the homogenous internationally styled wines of much of southern Spain.

Even five years ago, Tenerife would have been a mere footnote in the context of Spanish wine but since taking over the family business in 2011, Borja Perez, with the likes of Envinate, Suertes del Marques and Bodegas Matias i Torres in La Palma, has enhanced the reputation and expanded the reach of Canary Island wines by proudly refocusing on the indigenous varieties that grow on the island. Located in the richly biodiverse DO appellation Ycoden Daute Isora in the island’s north west, the volcanic, maritime vineyards here range from low coastal elevations to about 800m, with the most extreme sites climbing as high as 1,400m. The island’s climate is moderated by the Atlantic of course, which brings with it cool winds that temper the heat and add moisture; either a help or a hindrance depending on the vintage. For Borja, his desire to capture the different expressions of Tenerifan wine and eschew international “blending” varieties has seen the quality, volume and scope of his projects increase steadily over the past few years and, in fact, our partnership marks his first exports to our own fair isle.

Luis Gutierrez of The Wine Advocate writes that it is “thrilling to see an old wine region come back to life, and that’s what has happened to the Canary Islands in the last decade. The spark originated in Tenerife with Suertes del Marqués, Envínate and Borja Pérez, and slowly other islands joined in.” Similarly, Tim Atkin MW, another authority on Spanish wine, believes that it is “thanks to dynamic producers like Altos de Trevejos, Borja Pérez, Envínate, Los Loros, Tajinaste and Suertes del Marqués [that] Tenerife is recovering its past glories and even surpassing them.”