Dolores Cabrera La Araucaria Tinto 2018
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Dolores studied viticulture at the Escuela Capacitación Agraria in Tacoronte (East of La Orotava) and worked at Bodegas Monje as the head viticulturist for 10 years. In 2014 she decided to make her own wines, naming her project “La Araucaria” for a type of evergreen tree found in the Canary Islands, and specifically for the very large tree just outside her cellar that is depicted on her labels. Her husband Pedro helps out in the cellar, and a team of women (she believes women are more deft at picking grapes) help her with the harvest.
The stately old vines she works with are the great loves of her life, and you can see the delight on her face when she steps out among them. Her cellar, which was the first to ever be built in what is now the DO Valle de La Orotava, looks out over the Atlantic Ocean and her extraordinary vineyards. Most vines are trained in the cordón trenzado (braided cord) method, where vines snake out of the ground and the canes are braided together and supported by posts to facilitate better airflow (mildew is an issue due to the humidity); the braids of the oldest vines can reach between 14 to 22 meters in length. This unusual style is only found here in La Orotava on the northern slopes of Tenerife - the largest of the seven Canary Islands.
La Araucaria Tinto is from Dolores’ centenarian Listan Negro vines from her San Antonio vineyard which sits at 450 meters in Valle de La Orotava. The grapes are hand-harvested and 100% destemmed, with primary fermentation in steel tank followed by malolactic and aging in old Burgundy barrels. Bottled without fining or filtration, and with just a touch of SO2.
" It has the finesse of fine Burgundy and the smoky/pepper/earthy qualities of Northern Rhône, but it’s in a distinct class of its own. The standout for me is a fine, underlying white pepper component that enhances the bright red/black fruit, charred violet and rose, crushed volcanic stone, dried herbs, iron, and a touch of meat. Although medium-bodied and impressively elegant, “La Araucaria” Tinto is powerfully mineral and leaves a deeply embedded volcanic footprint. It’s a wild ride that requires your attention and patience: Allow at least 30 minutes in a decanter to help ease its nerves, and serve in Burgundy stems around 60 degrees. Other than that, slowly savor this inimitable bottle from one of the world’s most far-flung volcanic terroirs. Cheers!" -SommSelect