The specialized magazine, and referent of the wine sector in Spain, Planeta Vino dedicates an extensive report to Bodegas El Sitio in its October issue. The author, Ulises P. Moratalla, describes in it, the origins of the young wine project of our winery, the philosophy of varietal and landscape defense that our elaborations and other relevant aspects that help us understand our goal of making Canarian wines from quality that faithfully reflects the terroir in which the different native varieties that we use best develop.
We can only be grateful and proud for this recognition of our work and our winery philosophy, which indicates that we are on the right track. Thank you.
*We reproduce the entire article
WAREHOUSE THE SITE
“SEARCH FOR THE AUTONOMOUS GRAPE WHERE THE BEST IS GIVEN EVERY VARIETY ”. IT’S THE CURRENCY
WHICH MAKES THE WAY OF WINERIES THE SITE. A YOUNG INITIATIVE, THAT APPLIES AN INTERPRETATION
FANTASTIC OF THE OPPORTUNITIES PROVIDED BY THE DO CANARY ISLANDS AND DRAWED AS
– ONE OF THE NEW MOST INTERESTING PROJECTS OF THE ARCHIPELAGO.
“It’s like when kids go out to party; you are restless until you have them at home. ” This is how his harvests are explained by Pablo López Betancort, the winemaker from Bodegas El Sitio, who wants to make the wines at home, in the pocket cellar that the businessman Francisco González Yanes, the owner, has set up in a corner of the north of Tenerife, in a farm on which he cultivates three hectares of vineyards spread over eight terraces. There he is building his house and has also just made an extension to another two and a half hectares, which he has planted in vineyards this year.
I could have thought of a Canarian chateau but it has raised an alternative of interest (and costly) for the entire Canarian wine scene. Its philosophy is not to incorporate the different grape varieties to its vineyards but, in its words, “to look for the native grape where each variety is best given.” That implies an expensive transport system from the production areas, be it the south of Tenerife or, for the moment, the islands of El Hierro and La Gomera.
“The grapes are harvested in small boxes, put in refrigerated containers and every day they are transferred to the ferry so that at night the harvest is already in the winery It is stored in a cold room, at a temperature of 6 ° C, and is prepared the next day, “explains Pablo López Betancort. The owner concludes with a laugh:” At first it was a lot of fun; I was going to the shipping company that owned the ship, I explained what I wanted, I had to tell the captain … And they put on faces that were to see them. ”
That era and is a minor difficulty for the Tinerfeño Francisco González Yanes (Puerto de la Cruz, 1948), a versatile entrepreneur who in his professional life has seen them of all colors. Surely there are few sectors in which he has not set foot, almost from the cradle, since, with four years, he emigrated with his family to Venezuela. It had import and export companies, two airlines, Santa Bárbara, which bought in the wreck and came to dominate the passenger traffic between the Canary Islands and Venezuela, and the Airways Islands, for the Canarian inland traffic (“I sold them because my daughter did not want dedicate to it ”), mining companies, businesses also in Miami and even formed part of the founding group of Banco Canarias de Venezuela, which sold to business groups close to Venezuelan power and was finally intervened by the Government of Chaves.
Intense life in which there was always a place for their land and today. While maintaining a kind of airlift on the frequent route between Tenerife, Caracas and Miami, he has time to launch his winery, a kind of warrior’s retreat located in a remote place in the municipality of Tacoronte, near perhaps due to affinity to the valley de Guerra, where he has used an old house to install the winery and other attached buildings to build his house, now in the final stages of its construction.
Winery-bombonera located next to the expanding vineyard, facing the ocean and overlooking the Teide, if the frequent cloudiness of the north of the island does not prevent it. It was launched in 2012, when Francisco González Yanes contacted Pablo López Betancort and raised his exciting project. Born in Gran Canaria in 1971, Pablo trained as a winemaker at the Madrid Vine School and in Bordeaux. On his return to the islands he worked in different wineries from 1999 until in 2011 he was already involved in the first steps of Bodegas El Sitio and in his peculiar philosophy.
PDO CANARY ISLANDS
The project came as a ring to the finger the implementation of the DO Canary Islands, although it was not intended for such an idea and that responds to a structure that does not seem to adjust to times that go more for the singularity than for The big areas. This global geographical indication was raised as a response to complaints from Canarian producers due to the more or less widespread fraud of the importation of peninsular wines that were later sold as premises.
The Canary Islands DO allows the transfer of grapes and wines from one area to another of an overcrowded autonomous community in terms of designations of origin, with eleven: five on the island of Tenerife (Abona, Icoden-Daute-lsora, Güímar Valley, Orotava Valley and Tacoronte Acentejo; the whole island except the Las Cañadas del Teide Natural Park), El Hierro, Gran Canaria (with the Monte Lentiscal subzone), La Gomera, La Palma and Lanzarote, as well as the Canary Islands, which launched in 2011 and is the youngest, waiting for the reborn wine activity of Fuerteventura to crystallize in a new one.
Wineries El Sitio was immediately attached to the new designation of origin, not to import wines from other islands but to bring grapes. Those responsible insist on their philosophy of looking for grapes where their best conditions are given and in their fidelity to the native varieties, although some betrayal is also allowed, such as trellis plantation and not in the traditional cordon of the area or the cultivation of A little vineyard of Syrah. Francisco González Yanes shrugs: “I like it and it’s allowed, why not?“
THREE ISLANDS, SIX PLOTS, SEVEN WINES
With that minimal exception, which is destined to the reduced production of rosé wine, the rest is focused on the search for good vineyards of native varieties, on personal contact with their owners, the hiring of grapes (25-year leases) and the close monitoring of all cultivation processes. “It is not that difficult, the owner explains modestly. It is about paying a good price, which many still expect to charge from other wineries, and do it in time. Then, when they taste the wine, they finish conquering it.“
With that simple procedure they control different plots on several islands and make their own zoning through their brands. They work with six varieties, in addition to the French intruder, in some vineyards in which the elevation and orientation acquire a singular importance.
In the San Juan plot, which is where the winery is located, located about 300 meters above sea level, they grow the Vijariego Negro ink, with which they make the El Sitio red wine, and the Syrah sample, which in equal parts with Vijariego gives the pink Gaby 1974.
In the south of Tenerife they have the plot Bebederos, located almost at sea level, with two hectares of Aromatic Malvasia, origin of the El Sitio white and, in special years, of the white De Yanes fermented in barrel.
On the island of La Gomera, plot El Rajadero, a steep vineyard located next to the Garajonay National Park, over a thousand meters high, with more than 60 years and only one hectare, planted with Forastera for the target to which Name the variety itself.
Finally, on the island of El Hierro they control three plots, Guarisancho and El Tesoro, both about 300 meters above the sea, with Vijariego Blanco and Verdello, to produce the varietal of the first Orchila, and Las Lapas, at 600 meters altitude, with five hectares of Baboso Negro, with which De Yanes red wine is made, and Vijariego Negro, which go to El Sitio tinto.
Seven wines from six plots grown on three islands, which want to express the unique character of unique varieties, nuanced by the mineral imprint of the volcanic terrain. Telluric wines that were premiered for the first time outside the Canary Islands on the eighth island, that is, in Venezuela, and that for just a year have sought to conquer a place of honor on the Peninsula.
Ulises P. Moratalla (Planeta Vino)