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The arrival of a new vintage of wines from Envínate is always exciting. Roberto Santana, Alfonso Torrente, Laura Ramos, and José Martínez are making fascinating wines from vineyards across Spain. Today, we are pleased to offer the first round of their 2019 wines from the island of Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, and the 2019 release of Albahra, from vines in Almansa, Albacete.
The wines from Tenerife are elegant expressions of volcanic soil and Atlantic climates, great representations of the wines of the Canary Islands. If you would like to read more about this project, and the wines of the Canary Islands, I wrote a longer profile in May which can be accessed here. These are very special wines, and it's always a treat to be able to offer them.
2019 was a very hot and dry year across Tenerife. This can be felt in the wines, and has led to reduced yields from white grapes: there's less Benje Blanco, Taganan Blanco, and Vidueño than usual this year. Yields for red grapes were less impacted.
Albahra comes from a different project, on the Spanish mainland near the historic town of Almansa in Castilla-Leon. The wine is a blend of Garnacha Tintorera from a single 3 Hectare vineyard, planted on clay-limestone, and the rare local grape Moravia Agria from a different vineyard near Manchuela on similar soils. This is has been one of my favorite red wines in the Spanish section here for years: it's approachable and easy to drink young, and it ages very well in the short term (at least up to 5 years, almost certainly beyond). The 2019 is outstanding.
Listán Blanco from high elevation (1000-1200m) vineyards on the sunny, dry and continental wester side of Mount Teide, near the town of Santiago del Teide. The vineyard was planted 70-100 years ago, and the soils are sandy and volcanic. All grapes are harvested by hand and a small subset macerate on the skins for about seven days. The grapes are fermented with native yeasts in concrete and used French oak, some of the wine ages under flor for several months. 2019 was a dry and difficult vintage for white wines across the island of Tenerife - this year's Benje Blanco will probably need some time in bottle to really show its stuff. Ben Fletcher
Listán Prieto from vineyards at around 1000-1200m near Santiago del Teide on Tenerife. This vineyard has sandy volcanic soils, and the vines are 70-100 years old. Climactically, this region is dry, windy, and continental in character, shielded from Atlantic influence by Mount Teide and elevation. The grapes are harvested by hand and fermented with indigenous yeasts with a maceration period of 10-20 days and punch-downs daily before aging for eight months in concrete and used French oak. Bottled unfined and unfiltered with a touch of sulfur. This year's Benje Tinto is open and ready to go - a great expression of the spice, minerality and intensity of Tenerife's volcanic soils paired with the delicacy and freshness of Listan Prieto. Ben Fletcher
70% Listan Prieto, 30% Listan Blanco from Santiago del Teide (the same vineyards as the Benje wines). A pale red, nearly rose colored wine.
A large blend of white grapes, many hailing originally from Madeira and Portugal: Gual, Albillo Criollo, Marmajuelo, Malvasia, Forastera, Verdelho and others. From vines in Taganan along the far northeastern coast of Tenerife, where the soils are volcanic with sand and basalt. The vineyard is exceptionally steep, with ancient terraces, necessitating that it be worked by hand. The untrained vines range from 60 to 200 years old are planted from the side of the ocean up to 300m above sea level. Grapes are harvested by hand, then fermented with indigenous yeasts in open-top vats. A small subset macerate on their skins for around 7 days. The wine is aged in neutral oak for eight months, then bottled without fining or filtering and with only a small addition of sulfur. 2019 was dry and difficult in Tenerife, especially for white wines; I would recommend holding this for a little while to let it come together in bottle. Ben Fletcher
Listán Blanco from high elevation (1000-1200m) vineyards on the sunny, dry and continental wester side of Mount Teide, near the town of Santiago del Teide. The vineyard was planted 70-100 years ago, and the soils are sandy and volcanic. All grapes are harvested by hand and a small subset macerate on the skins for about seven days. The grapes are fermented with native yeasts in concrete and used French oak, some of the wine ages under flor for several months. Opened in September of 2020, this is showing very well: deeply savory, with notes of salt, sea-air, and volcanic minerality predominating. A great expression of Tenerife to drink right now. Ben Fletcher
Albahra is Envinate's Mediterranean wine, from vines of Garnacha Tintorera and Moravia-Agria planted in clay-limestone soils near Albacete in Castilla-La Mancha. The Garnacha Tintorera and the Moravia-Agria are vinified separately: the Garnacha with some stems in cement vats, and the Moravia fully destemmed in used barrels. After about 8 months they are blended together and bottled without fining or filtering and with only a small amount of SO2 added. Albahra seems to get better and better each vintage, and the 2019 is no exception. Showing perhaps a bit leaner on release than the 2018, this has tons of texture, beautiful mineral brightness, and lots of red fruit and spice. It will only improve, but what a pleasure right now! Ben Fletcher