Antje and Jürgen Jacobs have transformed one of Lanzarote‘s oldest buildings into a picturesque venue - a meeting place for anyone who appreciates good food and fine wine.
When Antje and Jürgen Jacobs decided to leave Germany for good they really knew the meaning of hard work. Antje and her husband had brought up seven children, and Jürgen was putting in 16-hour days as a specialist sales consultant for companies all over Germany, spending only a little time at home. Sooner or later the dream of a quieter life in a beautiful old house in warmer climes was bound to beckon. Their dream was of a welcoming, open house where together they could dedicate themselves to their passion for tasting and collecting wines, and to their friends. After a search lasting fifteen years, a man named Manuel, then also known as "the King‘s page“, handed over an old, rusty key. It was as long as a child‘s forearm. It was the key to their new home in Teguise, the Palacio del Marqués. Jürgen Jacobs remembers it as if it were yesterday: "As I stood on the beautiful patio of the empty manor, I knew that this was the house for us. I said to Antje, "Come on, let‘s tidy up. We‘re home!‘“
For eighteen years the Jacobs have been "tidying up“ - lovingly restoring this buil-ding steeped in history, always full of respect and reverence for its historic significance. The old manor was commissioned in 1406 by Jean de Béthencourt, appointed King of the Canaries by the Castilian King Henry III. His nephew, Maciot de Béthencourt, carried out his uncle‘s commission, and 32 years later, the Palacio del Marqués was finally finished. Among other uses, it enjoyed 270 years’ service as the Canary Islands‘ government building.
Your reporter was taken by the lord of the manor in person to see the magic stone near the former assembly room of the Pa-lacio, which today bears witness to those times. It‘s a magma rock, incorporated into the foundations of the Palacio, and on it there‘s a love letter which Maciot de Béthencourt had inscribed to the Princess of Teguise, daughter of the last Maho king. My host assures me the stone has magic powers, and tells me about all the resear-chers, volcanic geologists and neo-alchemists who have examined it and estimated it to be over five million years old. Many people who have touched the stone talk about the strange tingling feeling it gave them in their hands and arms, others report feeling a hot flush. My host doesn‘t feel any of this, he says, but still believes in the magic powers of the stone’s love message. As we stand next to the stone and he tells me about this phenomenon, I begin to get a ringing in my ears which gets louder and louder... I don‘t mention it until later - I can hardly bring myself to believe that it could have been caused by the magic stone.
Finally, Jürgen opens the heavy wooden door to reveal the treasures held today within the Palacio del Marqués. Wine, wine, and more wine. I‘m astonished. I have never seen such a big private wine cellar containing such riches. Everywhere I look there are bottles of wine. All meticulously arranged by country, region and vintage. Jürgen is in his element now and there‘s no holding him back. He lists the finest wines of his collection too quickly for me to note them all down. He‘s been collec-
ting wine all his life, always on the trail of that special bottle, that exceptional vintage. Here I spot some Teofilo Reyes Crianza from 1994, ‘95 and ‘97 next to a Pesquera from Alejandro Fernández, which in 1982 the American wine guru Robert Parker Jr. likened to a Petrus, the most famous wine from Pomerol. Cult wines from Aimé Guibert‘s Mas de Daumas Gassac vineyards in Languedoc in the south of France lie next to 1994, ‘95, and ‘96 vintages from Ribera del Duero, and wines from Priorat and Rioja - which in Jürgen‘s expert opinion will figure among the world‘s best and most expensive wines in a few years. There‘s even a rarity from Lanzarote in Jürgen‘s cellars - an El Grifo from the year 1880, with a hand-written label. The list is endless: Spanish wines, French wines, even German Rieslings, Spätburgunders, and Bocksbeutels from Franconia have a place in Jürgen‘s collection.
But he is particularly reverential as he blows the dust off a bottle of 1973 Château Mouton-Rothschild, with its label designed by Picasso. It was in 1973 that this vineyard was elevated to Premier Cru status, and this is the only vintage to mention on the label. When you consider that in over 100 years no other vineyard has been upgraded like this, you begin to get an idea of how special this bottle is. Wine-buff Jürgen has had the labels from this and a number of other famous bottles copied in the form of hand-painted tiles on the tables of the Palacio‘s courtyard.
It took several years to carefully restore everything so stylishly and in such detail - like the patio tables, for example, at which the Jacobs‘ guests relax. The house was originally open to receive friends and acquain-tances, with Antje as the dedicated hostess and Jürgen the entertaining raconteur from the world of wine, but it has since become a well-known ‘wine patio‘, with a reputation extending beyond the Canaries. With a smile, Antje recalls the early days, when she would set a simple table outside the Palacio door on a Sunday, offering a few tapas and some wine.
Compare that with now, when the Jacobs serve 30,000 guests a year. Among them are many celebrities, such as journalists
Dieter Kronzucker and Günter Wallraff, actors Uwe Ochsenknecht, Max Riemelt and Jasmin Schwiers, who were regular visitors to the wine patio during the Lanzarote filming of Ironman, and in the past also the actor Günter Strack, now sadly departed. Antje and Jürgen have achieved what they always wanted - a wonderful place to enjoy their retirement in. A place where they can still be active, brimming over with dedication, love and commitment, Antje the hostess and Jürgen one of the most knowledgeable wine experts in the Canary Islands. Antje and Jürgen‘s guests can relax in comfort on the superb patio, sheltered from the wind and surrounded by exotic flowers. Time stands still as you enjoy the delicious tapas from Antje‘s kitchen and fresh island specialities with herbs and spices and sample one or two of the finest bottles from Jürgen‘s cellar whilst listening to 1001 tales from the world of wine...
Patio del Vino, Calle Herrera y Rojas, 9
E - 35530 - Villa de Teguise.
Monday to Friday 12 pm to 8 pm,
Sunday 10 am to 3 pm, closed Saturday.
Phone: (+34) 928 845 773,
(+34) 928 845 832
or mobile (+34) 609 475 043.