■ La Grieta Malvasia dry
It is one of the few wines that is bottled in the northern part of the Island, even though, theoretically, the area is “unfit” for the cultivation of Malvasia, according to the seniors of the region…
“But it is wonderful because when older people come to the winery it is very interesting,” he adds, thinking of all the information and experience these people possess. However, when it comes to wine he must work with more contemporary criteria, for example, when deciding how ripe the grape should be for harvesting – even though winegrowers sometimes become impatient – or how to take care of the vineyard, banishing the custom to cut the tips of the grapevines because it harms the quality of the grape and the wine. Cutting the tips is an old tradition that was justified because those branches were the only greens that existed in the summer that could be given to the animals to eat, and today there are still older people who continue to do so, even though they do not breed animals anymore.
Today, there are many abandoned vineyards in northern Lanzarote, given that the grape ripens later than on the rest of the Island and the big wineries cannot wait for it
Today, there are many abandoned vineyards in northern Lanzarote, given that the grape ripens later than on the rest of the Island and the big wineries cannot wait for it. But the tradition and the landscape do exist. “I am the last to harvest on the Island”, he says, “because I own the highest vineyard.” And, indeed, one of the lands where he cultivates the vine is right next to the Corona volcano in a winegrowing landscape of great beauty, almost 600 meters above sea level (the highest point of the Island is Peñas del Chache at 670 meters) with traditional plantation at ground level.
But Ricardo has planted two other farms implementing modern crop-growing techniques and introducing red grapes (among them, the variety Syrah that has just been brought to the Island), in addition to the traditional volcanic Malvasia. His idea was and continues to be to demonstrate that Lanzarote, apart from good whites, also produces good red wine: “from a plant that gives off few kilos, but that has a big leaf surface and a lot of roots, therefore being able to be nourished properly from the terrain.” Another aspect where his opinion collided with the older viticulturists: “They say a vine that does not provide an entire box, is not a vine.”
“In the water, air bubbles rise an average three meters per minute. What I did is descending the bottles at the same velocity”
Red wine underwater
That is how he started to manufacture wine in 2007. At the beginning only Malvasia and later also some young red (2,600 bottles of red compared to the 21,000 of white he made in 2013) with a very novel production: after bottling he lets them rest in the sea, submerged 17 meters below the surface, at Punta Mujeres. As an expert diver, Ricardo had the idea to experiment with what he had seen while diving: “In the water, air bubbles rise an average three meters per minute. What I did is descending the bottles at the same velocity in order for the cork not to be moved and not to lose the air cushion. And the truth is that the red excelled when the Regulatory Council tasted it.” That experiment, which he carried out with the provisional authorization of the Directorate General for Coasts, is now awaiting the definite authorization to resume the production with this peculiarity.
Phone number: (34) 928 848 110 / (34) 616 908 484
■ Bodega Malpaís de Máguez SLU
Calle Cueva de los Verdes, nº 5 (Punta Mujeres) 35542 Haría (Lanzarote)
● Capacity: 24,000 liters.
● Average production: 23,000 bottles/year.
● Exportation: Spanish peninsula and Germany (small shipments).