Hillary Zio is a well-known American writer and influencer of the wine world. She holds the Somelier certificate by the Court of Master Sommeliers and the advanced certificate in Wines and Liqueurs with the WSET. Originally from Aspen, Colorado, Hillary’s passion for wine has taken her all over the world. She has given hundreds of courses and continues to be fascinated by the endless world of wine. Hillary has more than 10 years of experience in the industry (restaurants, retailers and wholesalers) and her book, “The unfiltered guide to work in wine” published in 2016, is a bestseller.

A few weeks ago Hillary visited the island of Tenerife. During his stay on the island she was able to taste the typical gastronomy, enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the island, and of course, her wines, her vineyards and her cellars. One of the wineries chosen by Hillary was Viñátigo where she could visit some of our vineyards, see the winery and taste some of our elaborations.

We reproduce here the impressions of Hillary collected in his blog hillaryzio.com about visiting our winery.

Sommelier in Tenerife

MAYO 17, 2019.- Hillary Zio

…Spain’s largest and most populated Canary Island, Tenerife is magnificent, complex and truly unlike anywhere I have ever travelled. The island is also home to the country’s largest peak and active volcano, Mount Teide. The mountain rises as the highest elevation in Spain, attracting over 5 million tourists per year. Tenerife has more wine and vineyard acreage than any other Canary Island, with the North being the most ideal for viticulture. While driving along the North coast however, it is much easier to spot the many banana tree farms, as the vineyards are mainly situated slightly inland, on steep hillsides. Nonetheless, Tenerife is home to 5 of the Canary Island’s 10 wine regions, and I was able to explore 3 of them. Read on for the Bodegas I visited within each region, along with my hotel, restaurant, and activity recommendations.

Bodegas Viñátigo, located in Ycoden-Daute-Isora (wine region): This winery was founded in 1990 by Juan Jesus Mendez, a fourth-generation vine-grower. He has and continues to work on the recuperation and revival of indigenous, Canary Island varietals. Since opening, Vinatigo has worked with Universities to identify 82 different grapes. Today, the estate is working with 12 of those, including Gual, Tintilla, Negramoll and Vijariego Negro throughout their five hectares of vineyards. The microclimates within them are largely influenced by the Trade Winds, being so close to the equator.  
The three-story winery was dug deep into the volcanic rocks 20 years ago and covered in the stones, inside and out. Vinatigo is not working with any synthetic products and practice hand-harvesting along their rolling vineyards. They are utilizing gravity in their facility, for energy efficiency and also proven to preserve the quality of grapes.

Due to the absence of Phylloxera in the Canary Islands, there are many unique varietals with extremely long history. Among the white grapes, Gual was clearly one of Vinatigo’s most popular, as a monovarietal and in many of their blends. The grape was thought to be extinct before the Juan Jesus worked to revive it. The 2018 was light and tropical, with a hint of jasmine and melon before finishing long with lifted acidity. This wine is aged half in stainless steel and half in concrete eggs. The 2018 Ensamblaje Blanco is a blend of five grapes, mostly Gual, and vinified separately before fermenting on the lees with batonnage in French oak. Notes of rich orange peel and smoky marmalade came across on the palate. From the reds, the 2018 Tinto is an easily lovable medium bodied wine from Listan Negro. The wine had a spritzy feel with blackberries, plum and pepper on the nose and palate.

Original publication.- http://www.hillaryzio.com/blog

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