With the Canaries off in the Atlantic and the Balearics lying in the middle of the Mediterranean, both groups of islands enjoy temperatures that are relatively moderate.
Make no mistake, these divisions defined above must make the Spanish crazy: a country barely held together for much of its existence doesn’t take kindly to this American gerrymandering.
The Balearics—The islands of Mallorca and Minorca offer an increasing number of small production wines from indigenous and international grape varieties; they’re good wines, but only a handful are now available in the US market.
The Canaries—Though far away and off the coast of Africa, the Canaries are part of Spain and part of Spanish (and American) history. The Canaries were an important port on the long voyage to America, and it was from here that Columbus took sugarcane to transplant into the Americas to create rum.
Spain’s highest mountain is on Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, and most of the island’s vineyards are grown on these fertile, volcanic soils. There are a number of DOs on these islands, and most are very interesting, but only a few wines are available in the US market. Here’s hoping that will soon change!