Our very first release of Envinate turned out to be the wild success I had invisioned. Today we turn to the brand new vintages that have just arrived to California.Quantities are never as much as I'd like, but it's a great fortune of mine to be able to offer such a diverse range from this Spanish foursome. One that's captured the intrigue of wine lovers around the world in truly dramatic and sweeping fashion.
The origin story behind Envínate starts with a collection of young friends, but 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 ultimately defines 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 concrete or old oak barrels and sulphur is only used when necessary in small doses at bottling. Each step Envínate takes is to ensure site-specificity is the focus in the bottle.
For me, the wines have a drinkability 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's the foundation of the raw material. Of all the annual allocations I receive the wines of Envinate represent a huge portion of what I crave to drink at home.
Albahra Tinto is comprised of 30-yr-old head-trained Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouschet) vines planted at 300 meters on chalky limestone-clay soils in the Almansa region. One of the rare red grapes with dark colored juice. But this deep and dark wine also has serious elements of spice and pronounced acidity. 50% whole cluster fermented and aged in 4,500-liter cement vats. Short maceration of 5 days and only 8 months aging helps keep this super fresh and lively.
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.
Benje Blanco comes from 70-105-yr-old un-trained Listan Blanco vines also planted in Tenerifef in the Canary Islands. These rare own-rooted vines sit at 1,000-1,200 meters above sea level. 75% of the fruit is directly pressed and 25% sees extended skin maceration for 14-40 days. The resulting wine is aged in 60% concrete and 40% used French barrique. Orchard fruits meld with the racy, mineral, and smoky volcanic terroir.
Benje Tinto is comprised of 95% Listan Prieto and 5% Tintilla and is also sourced from Tenerife's 705-105-yr-old un-trained vines that sit at 1,000-1,200 meters above sea level in the Canary Islands. Also own-rooted, these vines produce tiny yields that are destemmed and vinified for 10-20 days in cocrete tanks and some small open tubs. Aging takes place in neutral French barrique. Always a perfect marriage of peppery, violet, and meaty notes with the fresh cherry and raspberry fruit brimming with salinity.
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 stawberry-inflected fruit.
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. 40% whole clusters were used for fermentation and the wine was raised for 11 months in neutral barrique with minimal sulphur added at bottling. Deep structure here begins to soften with time in the glass and decanting is highly recommended.
2016 Envinate Albahra Tinto
$24 per bottle
2016 Envínate Benje Blanco
$27 per bottle.
2015 Envinate Taganan Blanco
$35 per bottle.
2016 Envinate Taganan Blanco
$35 per bottle.
2016 Envínate Benje Tinto
$33 per bottle.
2016 Envínate Benje Tinto 1.5L
$78 per bottle.
2016 Envinate Vidueno de Santiago del Tiede
$35 per bottle.
2015 Envinate Lousas Viñas de Aldea
$35 per bottle.