Jan 4th-Listan Negro

Listan Negro is a red grape variety native to Spain, specifically the Canary Islands, a volcanic archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of  Morocco and Western Sahara. It is the predominant grape variety on the island of Tenerife, the largest and most populous of the islands. The grape is also cultivated in parts of South America and North America, thriving in volcanic soil, where it goes by the names Mission and Pais. This genetic link was established in 2007 by research in Madrid. If grown in higher yields, the grape is nondescript and best suited for use as a distillate in the production of brandy. When yields are limited, it can be used to make lighter style varietal wines or aged in oak to produce more complex representations. It is also used in blended wines. 

This week, I drank a bottle of 2019 Taro Vincola from the Canary Island, Lanzarote. The wine is mostly Listan Negro with a small precentage of Listan Blanco that is interspersed within the same vineyards. It exhibited a moderate ruby color and the legs had the faintest pink hue. Aromas of red apple, graphite, raw meat, green bell pepper, and red bell pepper could be coaxed with a bit of swirling. The front of the palate was unique in that the acidity was reminiscent of a sparkling wine without the sparkle but providing a notable tickle. Otherwise, the wine was light bodied, low alcohol, and low tannin. The savory meat character with a sharp earthy minerality and noticeable presence of barnyard. Many of these characteristics can be attributed to the growth of a bacteria called Brettanomyces, aka Brett. The common flavor profile it can impart includes sweaty horse, band-aid or meat. These can be interpreted as increased complexity or they can be considered faults in the wine if they obscure the fruit character. In this instance, deciphering fruity character was quite difficult  but this could be due to these aromas and flavors or could partially be due to the limited fruit profile of the grape and metallic nature of the volcanic soil. Some regions have become famous for balancing the presence of Brett and making it an advantageous attribute to their final product. Once Brett has become established in a winery, it can be extremely difficult to eradicate as it can reside in pores within oak barrels and on other spots missed during the sanitation phase of cleaning equipment.  This wine was an educational wine which I would like to try again!


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