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Today we are pleased to offer wines from two exciting projects in the Canary Islands. Both producers highlighted today produce small amounts of wine, and what is produced is highly sought after. As a result, quantities are very limited. The volcanic archipelago, although part of Spain, is located just 60 miles off the coast of Africa (on approximately the same latitude as the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara). Altitude plays a major role, with vineyard elevations reaching upwards of 1000 meters (nearly 4000 feet). More generally (and somewhat counterintuitively), the Canary Islands are not hot. They are cooled by strong Northeasterly trade winds and the so-called "Canary Current," an ocean current that moves cool water from the Nordic regions toward the equator. Average temperatures on the islands rarely exceed 80 degrees. Wines from the islands are fascinating and singular, and the wines offered today are some of the most unique offerings we see in the US.
Envinate is a collaborative project founded by four winemakers and friends who met while in enology school in Alicante: Roberto Santana, Alfonso Torrente, Laura Ramos, and José Martínez. Together they make wines from choice plots in the Canary Islands, Ribeira Sacra, Murcia, and Almansa, intending to express the unique terroirs of each region.
Victoria Torres Pecis farms her family's vineyards in Fuencaliente on the western-most Canary island of La Palma, where her family has tended vines for five generations. Climate varies dramatically on La Palma due to multiple and sudden shifts in elevation, but Fuencaliente is generally high and cool. Victoria's wines are consistently transportive. We are humongous fans of her and her wines, and have been since day one! Her reds are typically very approachable in their youth, and the whites stand out as some of the most compelling in the region. Today's offer includes some classics, like her lovely, light-bodied Negramoll, and some special releases and "vinos experimentals" that she releases in very small quantites. (Ben Fletcher/Eben Lillie)
Listan Blanco vinified from a 'solera' system started in 2013. Every year since she has added some juice which stayed under flor in chestnut barrels. (note from bowlerwine.com)
Listán Blanco. This wine can be described as a synthesis of all the plots Victoria works on; most of them have Listán Blanco in their original composition. In typical Canary Island fashion, they are sourced from different plots which are situated through a range of altitudes and differ in soil composition as well as exposure. Fermented and aged in concrete; aged on the lees for ten months. (note from bowlerwine.com)
La Palma native Victoria Torres makes this mineral red wine with her family's large Roman press of Canarian pine that dates back to the 1800s. Her Negramoll vines come from vineyards in both the fertile north of La Palma island at very high altitudes (up to 1400 meters), and in the warmer, lower southern zones, which combine for an alluring, layered fruit profile. Partially fermented with whole clusters (about 30%), vinified in American oak, old chestnut barrels and tank—and then blended. Élèvage is in 600L French barrels. The 2017 is a little brighter than the previous vintage, fresh and very approachable.
This cuvee is sourced from a 1.5ha vineyard of cordon trenzado (braided vines) Listan Blanco at 600m elevation, and is named for the area where it’s planted. The grapes are hand-harvested, pressed full cluster into large concrete tank off the skins and fermented without malolactic occurring, then raised in two Friulian 2500L oval foudres for 10 months. Bottling is without fining or filtration. (note from josepastorselections.com) /// From tasting when the Palo Blanco first arrived to New York, this had great density and mineral drive on the mid-palate. Stony, with white stone-fruit and a long finish.
This cuvee is sourced from two very old parcels of cordon trenzado (braided vines) Listan Negro. 60% comes from the La Habanera plot on volcanic sand at the highest elevation (600m) in the area, and 40% comes from the older San Antonio plot, lower on the slope (350m) and with more clay. The plots were hand-harvested, foot-trodden and fermented separately (La Habanera with 100% whole clusters, San Antonio 15% whole cluster) in large concrete vats, then into 228 & 600L old French barrels for malolactic and aging for 11 months. Bottling is without fining or filtration.(info from josepastorselections.com) /// The 2017 is bright and vibrant, with some brambly and high toned red fruit. Appropriate now and with another 1-3 years in bottle, it should be very nice.
This cuvee is sourced from two very old parcels of cordon trenzado (braided vines) Listan Negro. 60% comes from the La Habanera plot on volcanic sand at the highest elevation (600m) in the area, and 40% comes from the older San Antonio plot, lower on the slope (350m) and with more clay. The plots were hand-harvested, foot-trodden and fermented separately (La Habanera with 100% whole clusters, San Antonio 15% whole cluster) in large concrete vats, then into 228 & 600L old French barrels for malolactic and aging for 11 months. Bottling is without fining or filtration.(info from josepastorselections.com) ///
The 2017 is bright and vibrant, with some brambly and high toned red fruit. Appropriate now and with another 1-3 years in bottle, it should be very nice.
Diego is a local variety of La Palma in the Canary Islands, also known as Bujariego and Vijariego Blanco. From 100-year old vines planted in Fuencaliente at 800m altitude on very steep slopes of ashy volcanic soil, this wine is one of the most mineral white wines made on the Canary Island. With the 2016 Diego, Victoria Torres Pecis succeeds in combining a complex bouquet (a portion of the wine is aged in French used barrels) and gorgeous freshness. A delicious wine to drink with Paella, vegetarian fare, or rich seafood dishes.
Made in Los Llanos Negros, a western oriented slope with vineyards planted on volcanic lapilli at 200-400 meters of altitude and up to 130 years of age. Fermented in Stainless Steel. (note from bowlerwine.com)
Las Machuqueras is a single vineyard of Listán Blanco from the stunning southern zone of La Palma island. This wine is fermented in chestnut barrel and raised under flor for 10 months. (note from bowlerwine.com)
Field blend from a 100 year-old single vineyard (Listan Blanco, Malvasia, Sabro, Vijariego, Gual) with an 8 day maceration in concrete. Raised in old chestnut barrels. (bowlerwine.com)
A tasty blend of Negramoll from very different sites in the north and south part of the islands. Vine age ranging between 40 - 80 years. Partiallly destemmed. Used American Oak. (notes from bowlerwine.com)