2017 Envinate, Tinto Benje, Vinos Atlanticos, Tenerife, Canary Islands.
The 2017 Benje is slightly reduced and smoky with the volcanic soils showing throughout, but it blows off and gives a Burgundy like performance in the glass with a textured medium weight and a bright sense of fruit. Vibrant strawberry, tart cherry, cranberry and sweet and sour raspberry fruits lead the way before a burst of red pepper flakes, chalk and grilled fennel come out in this entertaining red. One of the Envinate’s most easy to find reds is their lovely Benje Tinto, which is sourced from 1,000 meters elevation, high up on the volcano on Tenerife, in Spain’s Canary Islands and is mostly all old-vine, pie franco parcels of Listan Prieto, one of the Mission grapes along with a bit of Tintilla, also known as Graciano in Rioja, these plots named “Masca,” “La Zanja,” “Valle de Arriba,” and “Llano Redondo”, are all located in Santiago del Teide zone. Led here by Envinate’s Roberto Santana, this gang of four friends, which also includes the talented Alfonso Torrente, Laura Ramos, and José Martínez have almost single handedly made this region a hot spot in the wine world and brought huge international fame and respect this place and the native grapes.
Each parcel, for this Benje Tinto is hand-harvested and vinified separately, some in concrete and some in small open tubs/vats all naturally with only indigenous yeasts. According to Santana and team the maceration lasts between 10-30 days depending on the individual parcel with daily punch-downs, then malolactic fermentation is in neutral French barriques, then the Benje Tinto is raised 8 months in the same barrels without batonage (stirring) and without any added SO2, all to achieve purity of form and to express this unique terroir. These Envinate, which translates to Wine Yourself, Canary Island offerings are thrilling and very distinct wines picking up the remoteness and saline notes of this island chain off the coast of north Africa, as well as being influenced by the basalt laced volcanic soils and each hillside micro climate. This 2017 is fresh, savory, spicy and tangy with good acidity, low alcohol plus a light earthy core, it is best to drink with a slight chill and with rustic cuisine to bring out it’s best, it is fun way to get started with Envinate, who’s more serious crus are fabulous and at times mind-blowing!
($32 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive