Juan Francisco Fariña Pérez–JuanFra to people who know him well–is making some of the most exciting wines on the Canary Islands. His winery is located in Arafo, which is in northeastern Tenerife and serves as the hub of the Valle de Güímar DO. JuanFra calls his wine project Los Loros, named for the laurel shrubs that inhabit the upper elevations of the Valle de Güímar.
Farming in these parts is primarily conventional, but JuanFra favors a more holistic approach, while practicing organic and incorporating some biodynamic methods. The vines that JuanFra cultivates are primarily listán blanco and albillo criollo, located adjacent to the winery. Other vineyard sources higher up the mountainside offer an array of local varietals, with varying elevations up to 1,400 meters. The terrain in this neck of the woods is mostly volcanic sand, with some clay and limestone dotted in and around; abundant sunshine is moderated by the cooling Atlantic trade winds.
JuanFra’s winemaking philosophy delivers wines that are gorgeously pure and elegant expressions of these indigenous varietals, without being too serious (or reductive). Whole clusters when fermenting reds? Check. Gentle pressings and very minimal, if any, SO2 additions? Check. We all should strive to drink more wines like these going forward.
His 2020 Los Loros Listán Negro comes from 40-50-year-old vines at altitudes ranging from 700 to 1,300 meters. This wine spends a relatively short few months in old wood, and it shines brightly, with a savory salinity accompanying its smooth tannins and spicy red fruit. Time to char some broccoli and grill some sausages!
The 2019 Los Loros Listán Blanco de Canarias hails from two separate parcels, about 30 to 40 years old, and it offers a wonderful mix of fruit and volcanic minerality that screams for fried fish, or any richly flavored wonder of the sea for that matter.
Other Canary Island producers we carry here at Paul Marcus Wines include Suertes del Marqués, whose 2017 Vidonia cuvee, made from ungrafted listán blanco, will remind you of a top-notch white burgundy with its impeccable balance of fruit, minerality, structure, and length. Then there’s the 2019 Envinate Taganan Tinto, a benchmark field blend perfect for anyone who’s curious about Canary Islands wines, and a kaleidoscopic vision of what red varietals can produce from this volcanic terroir. Finally, we have the 2019 Envinate Taganan Margalagua Tinto, an exceptional wine that comes from a steep, very special single centenarian parcel that includes a dizzying assortment of red varietals. Subtle and saline, it’s a unique bottling to say the least.
To learn more about the stimulating, progressive wines of the Canary Islands, please come and visit us at the shop.