Pablo Matallana is a young, forward-thinking winemaker based on the Canary island of Tenerife. Through organic viticulture and thoughtful winemaking, Pablo seeks to showcase different grape varieties and the unique terroir of the Canaries. Pablo studied enology at the highly respected Polytechnic University of Valencia, and after graduation, he worked in both Chile and Priorat before returning to Tenerife to pursue his own project. He made his first wine in 2015 from a recuperated old vineyard in Tenerife. In 2018, he bottled his first wines from neighboring Lanzarote under the name Vinícola Taro. Taro is named for the small stone structures within vineyards where growers take shade and shelter.
Lanzarote has a markedly different landscape than Tenerife since it is the closest to Africa of the seven-island chain and dramatically arider. The highest elevation point is only 670 meters, dotted with smaller volcanoes instead of one very tall peak, as is the case for Tenerife and Gran Canaria. The majority of vineyards Pablo is working with are in the central part of Lanzarote, near Timanfaya National Park. The island sees only 18 days of rain per year on average, with a total of about 6 inches, making grape cultivation very difficult. Coupled with the intensely hot and dry trade winds known as the Calimas, vines are typically planted in Hoyos (walled holes) or zanjas (trenches) dug in the ground for protection. Due to a period of major volcanic activity in the 1700s, vines must grow through one meter of volcanic ash (locally known as picón) to reach water in the underlying clay.
From three parcels of organically farmed own-rooted
centenarian vines on volcanic clay soils. These three areas represent the main terruños of Tenerife’s northern coast. From west to east: 43% from La Orotave at 350m, 39% from La Victoria at 680m, and 18% from La Matanza at 650m. Each portion of the wine was harvested and vinified separately but in the same method. The grapes were harvested and deposited as whole clusters in stainless steel tank for 5 days of natural carbonic maceration, then foot trodden and left to macerate on the skins for 1 -3 days before pressing with a vertical press. No temperature control was used during fermentation. When fermentation finished, the wine was racked in used French oak barrels to complete malolactic fermentation, where it rested until blending without further racking. After 8 months, the wine was blended and aged for another month in stainless steel, then bottled without fining, filtering, and with only a small addition of sulfur.