Canary Island Sweet Wines
Sweet wines have a special place in Canary Island wine history. Going back to the 16th and 17th centuries they were the wines that were sought after across Northern Europe and the States, drunk by royalty and written about by Shakespeare! Today, wine production in general is of the drier style, but that’s not to say there aren’t seriously delicious, sweet dessert wines produced on the Islands, and Lanzarote is no exception.
I think it’s fair to say that sweet wines are not an everyday wine. For most people, they need a dancing partner, such as a dessert or a mature cheese! It is also the ideal wine to share a bottle of with the family.
Here at Wine Shop Lanzarote, we love our dessert wines, and we have two in stock. One from the Malvasia Volcanica variety, a grape unique to Lanzarote, and one produced from Moscatel de Alejandria. There are many ways to produce sweet wines, some more traditional than others, with fortification (the addition of alcohol) and without. Both of the wines we stock are naturally high in alcohol, purely due to the sweetness of the grape. The grapes are harvested late, so late in fact, that the berries have started to dehydrate and raisin, thereby concentrating the sugars that are needed to create a sweet must for the yeast to consume. Dessert wines typically have residual sugar levels of between 100 to 150 grams per litre. To put this into perspective, a dry wine is less than 2 grams per litre.
The two wines we stock are:
Bodega Bermejo Naturalmente Dulce
First up we have the Bodega Bermejo Naturalmente Dulce. This wine is elaborated using a traditional Solera system in French oak, and only 5,000 bottles are produced each year. A solera system results in a wine with an ever-increasing average age, as each year a set amount is bottled and the system (barrels) is then filled up with a corresponding amount of that years' vintage. It is a complex and time-consuming process, but it results in an exquisite and luxurious finish!
This wine has a bright copper and golden hue, with aromas and flavours of ripe fruits, figs and honey, with a wonderful persistence. It is a perfect match for aged cheese or pates! The wine is 14% and contains 130 grams of sugar per litre. Bring on the sweet nectar!
Bodega Vulcano de Lanzarote Dolce
Another hugely popular and delicious wine, Vulcano Dolce was in fact, our first wine ever to sell out! A limited amount is produced annually, with late harvested grapes which are then left to dehydrate further on the volcanic ash. The concentration of the sugars results in a wine of 150 grams per litre and 15% strength, which at this level naturally brings fermentation to an end. A year in French oak follows, resulting in a bright amber colour and typically ripe fruits aromas, hazelnut. A luxurious, silky body that we are sure won’t disappoint! On top of this, Bodega Vulcano is the only certified vegan winery in Lanzarote.
We hope this gives you a little insight into sweet wines. Let us know your thoughts, pairing ideas or suggestions.
We hope you enjoy!