La Gomera’s unique treasure: The buried wines of Altos de Chipude

Discover the unique winemaking tradition of La Gomera, where Altos de Chipude vineyard buries its wine bottles underground, blending ancient practices with modern innovation to create a wine that captures the essence of the island.

On the picturesque island of La Gomera, nestled within the lush confines of the Garajonay National Park, a unique winemaking tradition has been revived by Gloria Negrín and her team at the Altos de Chipude vineyards. They have brought back an old custom of burying wine bottles in the vineyard itself, a method that has piqued the interest of wine aficionados globally, including prestigious critics like England’s Jancis Robinson.

The wine, known as El Rajadero Enterrado, is predominantly made from the forastera gomera grape—a 500-year-old variety indigenous to La Gomera, which comprises 85% of the blend, complemented by 15% Listán Blanco. This blend results in a white wine celebrated for its vibrant freshness and distinctive character, attributes nurtured by the island’s volcanic soil and steep vineyard terraces.

La Gomera's unique treasure: the buried wines of Altos de Chipude

The tradition of burying the wine stems from a family anecdote. Gloria’s grandmother used to bury wine bottles in the vineyard to keep them cool while she worked. One forgotten bottle, unearthed months later, had undergone a fascinating evolution, inspiring Gloria to experiment with this technique on a larger scale.

Today, selected bottles of Rajadero are buried for six months, where the unique underground conditions enhance the wine with flavors of dried apricots, baked apples, and a pronounced mineral profile.

El Rajadero Enterrado is not only a testament to the rich viticultural heritage of La Gomera but also a symbol of innovation within tradition. It is available exclusively on the island, often fetching around 100 euros per bottle at select local restaurants due to its growing popularity and limited supply.

Behind the scenes, the Altos de Chipude vineyard is a family legacy, tenderly cared for across generations. Gloria took the helm in 2014, following her father’s return from Venezuela with dreams of continuing their winemaking legacy. Despite initial challenges and industry skepticism, her dedication has propelled the vineyard to new heights, making Altos de Chipude a standard-bearer for Canarian winemaking.

El Rajadero Enterrado stands as a culinary treasure, pairing beautifully with everything from foie gras to smoked meats, each bottle offering a unique, unrepeatable tasting experience that encapsulates the essence of its island home.

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