Grapelive: Wine of the Day December 12, 2016

2015envinatealbahra2015 Envinate, Garnacha Tintorera, Albahra, Vinos Mediterraneos, Almansa Spain.
I only just reviewed the 2014 vintage a short time ago, but this 2015 was so impressive and expressive I just had to include it in this months lineup of wine of the day! This Envinate 2015 Albahra Tinto is made from organic head-trained Alicante Bouschet (known as Garnacha Tintorera in Spain) that are about 30 years old, grown at about 800 meters near the town of Albacete in the Almansa region. Almansa is very Mediterranean influenced with sea breezes, hot days and cool nights, especially at this elevation, located between the cities of Valencia and Alicante. The soils here are chalky with ancient clay and calcareous in nature giving this juicy fresh red a hint of mineralite and bright acidity with soft refined tannin, the grapes are Fermented 50% whole cluster in concrete using native yeast and then raised in cement vats for 8 months with very little added sulfur. Envinate is the team of winemaker friends that wanted to work together after college, and though they now are talents in their own rights, they continue to craft artisan small lot wines under the Envintage label, this group includes Laura Ramos, Jose Martinez, Roberto Santana and Alfonso Torrente and they make wine from the Canary Islands all the way to the Ribeira Sacra. This 2015 Albahra Garnacha Tintonrera is dark, fruity and spicy with a zesty vibrant snap to it, it purely expresses the form of Alicante Bouschet, one of the few red grapes that actually has red juice itself inside the berry, it is a hybrid varietal that was created from the crossing of Grenache Noir and Petit Bouschet and is found in Spain, as well as in parts of Italy and California, it makes for a rich and spicy wine with zingy acids, like in this Envinate. This fun and flexible red has a garnet/purple hue and starts with peppery black fruits, a mix of dried and fresh picked flowers with loganberry, dusty plum and racy/tangy currants leading the way on the medium weighted palate, this is a red that doesn’t mind a slight chill on it and goes with many foods, mussels in spicy tomato broth, pastas and paella especially, as well as picnic and BBQ fare. This vintage gives some extra throughout, it is rather exotic in style with a riper, but not heavier feel with subtle anise, poached cherries, cinnamon stick and even some guava jelly and crushed raspberries. Less earthy than the 2014 version, the 2015 is my favorite vintage of this wine, imported by Jose Pastor Selections, this and all of the Envinate wines are worth exploring, great stuff!
($20 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive