The Canary Island chain, off the north coast of Africa (Morocco) has a diverse group of microclimates. The soils here are entirely volcanic which lends itself to their unique minerality as well as naturally creating low yields due to the high drainage of porous soils. The minerality is not citrusy or chalky. It’s sometimes smoky, flinty, saline, and other times it’s just like drinking liquid stones. In addition, due to its geographical isolation, varietals that are obsolete on mainland Spain are still being planted as they have remained unexposed to Phylloxera and are mostly still planted on Vinifera rootstocks.
Vines were planted as early as the 16th Century when the islands were highly acclaimed for their sweet wines made from Malvasía – made in an oxidative and Maderized style as in Madeira, Sherry, Port and the like. As you’re bound to find out when researching wines from the Canaries, Shakespeare mentions the Canary wines or The Canary Sack (suggested to have come from La Palma) in The Twelfth Night and The Merry Wives of Windsor.