2017 Envinate, Albahra Tinto, Vinos Mediterraneos, Almansa, Spain.
The latest Enivinate Albahra Tinto is beautiful and is one of the best values in Spain, it shows a delicious array of earthy dark fruit, spice, stones and wild herb notes adding an incense/floral note and lingering kirsch with air, it maybe a warm Mediterranean wine, but it has a Cru Beaujolais sense to it and remains vigorous and fresh throughout. Layers of wild plum, watermelon candy, black cherry and tangy huckleberry fruit unfold with grilled fennel, sage, warm tiles and lilacs all with a nice punch of natural acidity, making for a sweet and savory highlighted red that is highly entertaining and quaffable. The slightly raw and earthy edginess just adds to the feeling of pleasure in this fun, yet serious offering from Spain’s Almansa region. Envinate is one of Spain’s most adventurous and unique winery, founded by the gang of four, Roberto Santana, Alfonso Torrente, Laura Ramos, and Jose Martínez, four friends who met while studying winegrowing at the University of Miguel Hernández in Alicante. Their focus is on Atlantic terroirs, dividing time between the volcano soils of Tenerife in the Canary Islands and the slate steep slopes of the Ribeira Sacra in Spain’s Galicia region, along with a single vineyard in the Estremadura and this single parcel one from Almansa.
Made from mostly the Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouschet) grape with a small amount of the rare local varietal Moravia Agria, the Envinate Albahra is the one wine from this winery that is Mediterranean influenced from the Albacete zone of Almansa region, which is at southern tip of Castilla-La Mancha. I’m a huge fan of this winery and especially the Roberto Santana led Canary Islands reds made from the Mission grapes, Listan Negro and Listen Prieto as well as the Mencia based wines of the Ribeira Sacra, but that said this Garnacha Tintorera based wine is a killer value and a impressive effort as well. The 2017 comes from 30-50 year old head trained-bush vines set on harden clay and sand over limestone soils with all the grapes being organic and hand-harvested, with each of the lots vinified separately by individual parcel. The Garnacha Tintorera (aka Alicante Bouschet, which is a dark red skinned varietal with deep red-juice) is from a 3- parcel vineyard on clay/calcareous soils, is gently foot-trodden in a large vat with 30-50% whole cluster with stem inclusion, with about 6-10 days of skin maceration, then fermented and raised on fine lees in concrete tank for 8 month. The Moravia Agria, a high acid grape, comes from a small plot in Manchuela on sandy solis, it is completely destemmed and sees a 7 day maceration before being pressed and raised on fine lees in 228L used French barriques for 8 months, all without battonage (stirring). After which, the finished wine is then blended and bottled unfined and unfiltered with very little SO2 addition. This is tasty stuff again from Envinate, who are getting better and better with each vintage.
($18 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive