Canary Islands

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Spanish islands in the Atlantic ocean off the coast of Morocco which were famous in Shakespearian England, as witness Sir Toby Belch’s call for ‘a cup of canary’ in Twelfth Night. The mediocre wines for the tourist trade are being replaced by much more interesting products, much subsidized by the regional government, including young reds from negramoll and the indigenous listán negro grapes, and whites from Listán Blanco (Palomino), traditional and dry malvasías from La Palma and Lanzarote islands, and vijariejo, marmajuelo, and Gual (which is the same as Madeira’s Boal/bual). vine age is high, soils often volcanic. Although construction is encroaching on vineyards, the number of denominated zones has ballooned, and by the mid 2000s included one for each of the islands of la palma, el hierro, lanzarote, and gran canaria, and no fewer than five for the island of Tenerife (abona, tacoronte-acentejo, valle de güímar, valle de la orotava, and ycoden-daute-isora). Suertes del Marqués of Valle de la Orotava is one of the most ambitious producers.