2018 Envinate, Benje Blanco, Vinos Atlanticos, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain.
The 2018 Benje Blanco, made from 100% Listan Blanco, also known as Palomino, the white Sherry grape, is salty and slightly oxidative with racy stone fruits, citrus, dried mango and wet smoky shale notes, making it wonderfully crisp, dry and spicy with hints of orange and zippy acidity. This wine really needs food to shine in its best light, it goes intriguingly well with grilled shrimp tacos, ceviche and or rustic creamy/tangy goat cheese. The golden/yellow Benje Blanco is, as the winery notes, sourced from several old-vine, untrained pie franco (ungrafted and free standing) parcels of Listan Blanco and volcanic soils, which make up the whole island chain here. Each parcel is hand-harvested and vinified separately in a mix of concrete tank and small bins with most of the grapes being direct pressed off of the skins, though about a quarter are skin contact fermented with about three weeks of maceration. The dry Benje Blanco is then raised on the lees for 8 months in a combination of concrete and neutral French oak without battonage (no stirring of the fine lees) or with any added SO2.

Envinate, founded back in 2005, consists of four friends and winemakers from very diverse regions in Spain including Roberto Santana of Tenerife, Canary Islands, Alfonso Torrente of the Ribeira Sacra in Galicia, Laura Ramos of Murcia and José Martínez who is from Almansa and is now one of the critically acclaimed wineries in Spain, based in the Canary Islands. The winery’s main area of focus are these natural style wines from this island of Tenerife, where they craft intriguing wines from the volcanic soils on these remote islands off the coast of northern Africa, and where in recent years they has brought world attention to local grapes such as Listan Blanco, Listan Negro and Listan Prieto, also known as the Mission grapes. The Canary Islands were important stop for trade with the new world and an outpost for the Spanish colonists and missionaries that were headed for South America, so naturally grape vines were brought here, probably as early as the 1500s, though certainly in the 1700s. Envinate has a unique collection of offerings, as I have been a fan of for many years now, with their Listan Negro, from here on Tenerife and their Ribeira Sacra Mencia reds being the big stars in the lineup, though the whites, like this one, which should be enjoyed in their youth, are pretty exciting too.
($30 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

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