Grapes from La Palma are, like the islanders themselves, the result of a long and unhurried fusion. From Andalusia came the refreshing bunches of palomino (nowadays called listán blanco). From the Duero basin of Castile, the distinctive verdejo or verdello. From the Mediterranean, via Portugal, the aromatic malmsey. All in all, over a score of different varieties, each with its own highly individual character, which local tradition has managed to transform into the nectar of the gods.
Wine has a long history on La Palma. In the old days it formed part of a lucrative trade based on export to Europe. As a result, it is mentioned by writers of the calibre of Shakespeare or Sir Walter Scott, who did not hesitate to refer to it as “nectar of the gods”. This long history has been crowned by the founding of the Regulatory Board for Designation of Origin on La Palma, responsible for the quality of local wines. Due to the island’s peculiar topography, vineyards are found, mainly, on hillsides with pronounced slopes, at between 200 and 1,400 metres altitude, and where dry stone walls have been built. In some cases, the vine creeps along the ground, although it is also frequent to find vines trained, that is to say, with the leaves and grapes high up. The wine production of La Palma is divided into three subzones: Hoyo de Mazo, Fuencaliente and north. Among the twenty varieties used we will highlight some such as Almuñeco or Listan Negra, Negra Mole, Listan, Sabro, Gual, Bujariego and of course Malvasía.
At present, about 1,600 hectares are cultivated. On the island, red, rosé, white and sweet wines are produced, as well as vino de tea, a wine stored in barrels made from the heartwood (tea) of the Canary Pine. The Regulatory Board for Designation of Origin La Palma, as previously stated, is responsible for controlling and guaranteeing all wines made with local grapes, to ensure they have been produced, aged, and bottled on La Palma.
Malvasia wine deserves a special mention. It was first mentioned in the fifteenth century and its export was, for many centuries, one of the main sources of income of the island. These are naturally sweet wines because they come from grapes with a high concentration of natural sugars. In the case of the sweet malvasía of La Palma, the minimum acquired alcoholic strength must be 13% by volume, although in some cases it can reach up to 22%. Malvasia made naturally, without the addition of foreign yeasts, ethyl alcohol or concentrated musts. They glow with a bright amber hue, and have a very marked aroma and a soft sweetness.
Do not hesitate to taste wines from La Palma!