At this point, the small-batch wines produced by the Gang of Four behind Envínate needs little introduction. Halloween marks an appropriate day to introduce the 2017 release that just arrived this morning, as the diversity of colors, flavors, and mystery in each bottle is, the say the least, quite freaking unique.

Today, I'm happy to offer the 2017 Envínate release, along with a small segment of 2016 wines.

The story behind Envínate traverses through Ribeira Sacra and the Canary Islands.Favoring understated, fresh, and mineral-driven wines from ancient parcels, this project encapsulates the thrill of today's Spain.

Envínate translates to Wine Yourself, and was the creation of four friends who were studying enology at the University of Miguel Hernandez in Alicante in 2005. Roberto Santana, Alfonso Torrente, Laura Ramos, and José Martínez slowly began consulting with wineries after college, in the process discovering forgotten sites that brought with them old vines, but treacherous terrain. The previous generation saw the challenge as insurmountable, but this gang of four knew the treasured opportunity that presented itself. 

There's no doubt that these old vines throughout jaw-dropping scenery in Ribeira Sacra and the Canary Islands brings a unique voice to each wine. However, it's the sensitive approach to harvest and winemaking that ultimates define the success of the four. There are no chemicals used in the vineyards and clusters are hand-harvested. In the cuverie grapes are foot-trodden in small bins and fermentation occurs spontaneously from native yeasts on the skins. Wines are raised in old oak barrels and sulphur is only used when necessary at bottling. Each step Envínate takes is to ensure site-specificity is the focus in the bottle.

For me, the wines have an immediacy and joy to them that's so rare to find from first sip to last. They are spicy, fresh, and saline-driven, never compromising the vivid fruitiness that is the foundation of the raw material.

Albahra Tinto sources 30-yr-old vines from Albacete and Almansa, just south of Valencia near the coast. The soil is chalky with limestone and clay deposits. 100% Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante-Bouchet).

Benje Blanco sources 70-105 yr-old vines from volcanic soils of the Canary Islands. 100% Listan Blanco.

Benje Tinto sources 70-105 yr-old vines from volcanic soils of the Canary Islands. Blend of 95% Listan Prieto, 5% Tintilla.

Vidueño de Santiago del Teide is comprised of 50% Listan Prieto and 50% Listan Blanco from Tenerife in the Canary Islands. The parcel is a minuscule .15 hectare of own-rooted, un-trained 90-yr-old vines. The co-planted parcel is destemmed and macerated for 15 days in open tubs, then transferred to neutral French barriques and aged for 8 months. As you would imagine from the equal parts red and white this is exceptionally high toned in character, vibrant, and filled with smoky volcanic strawberry-inflected fruit.

Taganan Blanco comes from 100+ yr-old un-trained vines planted on the volcanic soil of the Canary Islands. Varieties planted here are a mix of Albillo Criollo, Marmajuelo, Gual, Malvasia at up to 300 meters in elevation perched steep above the Atlantic Ocean. Vines are farmed by Envinate as well as 15 different families. This northern coast of Tenerife sees a more temperate climate with strong coastal winds that are ideal to ripen these white varieties slowly, maintaining great acidity. Fermented and aged in small tanks and used barrels for 8 months. Citrus and orchard fruit combines with underlying nutty notes full of salinity and a lingering sea salt finish.

Misturado de Abeleda Ribeira Sacra is a field blend of 100+ yr old vines of Mencía, Mouratón, Caiño, Godello, Dona Blanca, and Palomino. Grown on porous slate and gneiss at 650 meters in elevation. Only 150 6-packs were produced. This 70/30 red to white blend was co-fermented in open top plastic vessels and then transferred to 300 and 400-liter neutral French barrels for 11 months aging.

Viña de Aldea (village wine) sources minimum 60-year-old Mencia vines on various slate soils in Ribeira Sacra at 400-600 feet in elevation.