One Good Bottle: Canary Islands Red Wine

Todd Coleman

The wines of the remote Canary Islands, located in the Atlantic Ocean off northwest Africa, are little known to the rest of the world. Yet, at one time, the Spanish archipelago's most common grape, listan negro, was also the most planted in California. Brought there by Spanish missionaries in 1769, the variety was named Mission. By the turn of the 20th century, when the louse phylloxera hit the West Coast, the grape, mostly vinified for sacramental purposes, died out. But it continued to flourish in the rich volcanic soils of the Canary Islands like Tenerife, where the fruit for Bodegas Monje Tradicional 2008 is hand-harvested from steep slopes. Monje throws some black, lush negramoll and some listan blanco, a grape often used in sherry, into the mix to make a wine that's at once electric and old-fashioned. With its flavors of chestnut honey, lanolin, paprika, and raspberry, it can handle any Thanksgiving trimming.

Bodegas Monje Tradicional 2008, $23