If you were to ask me, “What was the best thing about you holiday in Lanzarote?”
I would tell you… “THE WINE!!”
If you were to ask my friend Ollie who, I traveled with, he would say, “The Wine…and the cheese!”.
On arrival in Lanzarote, and upon first glimpse of the rough, dry terrain, you would have to wonder HOW ON EARTH there could be vineyards growing on an island COVERED in volcanic rock. An island that is hot and sunny all year round, gets minimal rainfall and has strong winds blowing through that could almost pick you right up off the ground?!
The answer?? There are TWO! Firstly, it turns out that the volcanic eruptions, and subsequent fields of lava and rock, that almost ruined agriculture on the island 300 years ago is now proving to be an amazing fertiliser! The small grains of volcanic rock serve as porous mulch, drawing moisture from the air, releasing it into the ground and preventing evaporation, and thus enabling vines to grow in this otherwise warm, dry climate.
Seondly, they have invented something quite ingenious to protect plants from the wind. Small, semi-circle walls which are hand-built stone by stone. These little ‘Zoco’s’, as they’re called, protect the vines from the strong atlantic winds and are absolutely spectacular to look at. Agriculture is Lanzarote seems to be a real test of Man Vs Nature, where man seems to be , miraculously winning!
But enough about the technical stuff. Let’s talk wine. Sweet, sweet wine. On one of the cloudy days of our holiday, we booked a day long hop on hop off bus tour, which gave you the option to hop off at any of Lanzarote’s top attraction which included beach resorts, museums, monuments, tiny villages and last but definitely not least, some wineries. Being the typical alcohol loving Irish youths that we are, Ollie and I opted for not one but TWO wine stops. Everything else on the bus tour, we agreed, could be skipped. Glad we had our priorities parked in the same place!
The first, and best, stop was at the El Grifo Wine Museum, where besides spending half an hour wandering around a seemingly quiet, empty and dusty museum, we got to taste a platter of pure goodness. This heavenly platter included six wines of our choice, two different types of goats cheese and some delicious home-made cranberry sauce. A feast for ones palate. We simply could not get enough of the El Grifo Semi-Dulce (semi sweet). It was sweet, but not too sweet. Just sweet enough for you to want another glass. And maybe just one more.
We bought one bottle in the vineyard and about 5 more on return to Puerto Del carmen.In fact I think Ollie may even have bought 1 or 2 extra in the airport, much to the delight of his friends and family back home no doubt. The second winery, Le Geria, while nice, felt a lot more like a cattle mart than a peaceful winery. Tourists were herded on and off buses and into the shop on the hour every hour and there was nowhere to sit down and enjoy the wine. There was also no cheese tasting, a huge crime in Ollies eyes. Wine and no cheese?? What sort of devilment is this!!!
If you make it to Lanzarote but for some strange reason don’t make it on a wine tasting tour, fear not. Just ensure that you order a bottle of wine with dinner. And lunch. Every day. You’re sure to find one that you like, we sure did.