The gastronomic and wine critic, Enrique Calduch, publishes in the oenology section of the newspaper Expansión, an interesting article that tells the story of the Bodegas el Sitio project, its philosophy and the personality of our wines.
We reproduce its complete content.-
Enrique Calduch (Madrid).- Expansión
His name is Francisco González Yánes and he is a tall businessman. Born in the Canary Islands, in Puerto de la Cruz, with a few years his family moved to Venezuel, where he has developed his entire business career. He was founder of the Bank of the Canary Islands, which he sold to the Government of that country. He also had an airline that came to compete with Iberia on flights between the islands and Caracas. A few years ago, González Yánes returned to his homeland and set up a winery with the collaboration of his children, in El Sitio de San Juan, north of Tenerife, within what is the Denomination of Otigen Tacoronte-Acentejo.
Canary is a particular place for wine. The region got rid of the plague of phylloxera that devastated all of Europe including peninsular Spain and even the Balearic Islands, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. To solve it, rootstocks from America were brought that were not attacked by the insect, and on which the strains were replanted. In this change, dozens of native varieties from all over Spain disappeared. Where they did not put the rootstocks are called “free foot”, some in Jumilla, Rueda and all the Canary Islands.
That is why in the islands there were still a large number of white and red varieties almost unknown. In addition, the Canary Islands, from the first trip of Columbus until several centuries later, is the place where the ships that went to America docked to stock up, among other things, wine for the trip. So the islands were, and still are, loaded with original vineyards that arrived one day from the Peninsula.
González Yánes brought these factors together and has opted to make wines using these virtually unknown varieties, although some are in La Gomera, others in El Hierro, others south of the island of Tenerife. Together, it makes seven wines, from six small plots, the largest of five hectares located on three different islands.
He took advantage of the fact that in 2011, the Canary Islands Designation of Origin had been established, which allows wine to be made in a winery with grapes from anywhere in the islands. At the head of the elaboration he put the winemaker Pablo López Betancor, who in addition to performing the work of his trade, has become a logistics specialist: the grapes that are harvested by hand in small boxes in La Gomera or in El Hierro are passed to air-conditioned containers that are transported by truck to the port, to pass by ferry to Tenerife, millimetrically controlling the schedules. From there to the winery, where the elaboration is carried out.
They make wines like Forastera, made with the white foreign variety of La Gomera; Orchilla, with the white vijariego; El Sitio and De Yanes with the white aromatic malvasía, from Tenerife; Vijariego Negro and Baboso Negro, with the red varieties of the same name from El Hierro; and a very curious pink named Gaby 1974 based on black vijariego and syrah, the only concession to a non-native variety.
All are wines with a great personality. Forastera 2018, with a light aging of four months on lees, appears subtle on the nose with memories of apple and citrus: the mouth is tasty, fat, with volume and power (18 euros). The other is also white, De Yánes 2018, based on aromatic malvasia, fermented in oak barrels, presents intensity in the nose with fruity tones, and toasted wood; and a powerful mouth, fat, very balanced, fresh and pleasant (22 euros).