2020 Viticultor Envínate, Albahra, Vinos Mediterraneos, Almansa, Spain.
The 2020 Albahra is a purple and opaque hued wine that, like the prior version, starts with a pretty floral perfume, exotic spices, earthy notes and fresh crushed briar laced blackberries that leads to a medium to full bodied and rustic palate with black fruit coating the mouth, adding plum, orange rind, minty herbs, fennel, mineral tones. The Envínate Albahra (yellow label) is typically made from about 70% Alicante Bouschet, also known as Garnacha Tintorera in Spain and 30% of Moravia Agria, an even more rare varietal that is noted for its high-acid and low alcohol tartness. The Moravia Agria helps keep the warm climate ripeness in check, and adds freshness in this wine, with each grape getting fermented separately and then blended together after aging. The Alicante Bouschet sees partial whole cluster with close to half getting stem inclusion with the hand harvested grapes foot-trodded and macerated in concrete vats with the indigenous yeast primary fermentation. Then it is aged on the fine lees in the cement for eight months, while the Moravia Agria is 100% de-stemmed and matured in well used French barriques. The final blend of the Albahra is assembled with ultra low sulfur and bottled unfined and unfiltered to capture varietal purity and its soulful expression. The grapes for this wine come from vines set on sandy clay-calcareous soils with the main parcel being head trained 30 to 50 years old, up at 800 meters above sea level, that allows for cool night time temps that retains acidity as well as giving this wine its complexity, lovely aromatics, pushing floral tones and zesty details.
As expressed in prior reviews, Envínate, which translates to “wine yourself”, is one of the coolest and exciting labels in Spain with Roberto Santana, Alfonso Torrente, Laura Ramos, and Jose Martínez producing these artisan and authentic efforts, which I highly recommend, especially their volcanic island Listan (Mission grape) bottlings as well as the Mencia based Ribeira Sacra series of wines, along with this Albahra of course. One of the most interesting and satisfying natural style red wines costing around twenty bucks you can find. The beautiful dark Albahra from Envínate is a singular expression coming from a remote and unique place and from rare varietals, it always is delicious. Envínate, the gang of friends that met in college, is one of the world’s great wine success stories and known for their outstanding collection of offerings sourced from each of the friends’ region(s) of Spain, including the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, where their most famous wines come from, and the Ribeira Sacra in Galicia, along with Extremadura and this particular wine, made in the Almansa region close to the town of Albacete near Castilla-La Mancha, influenced by the near by Mediterranean Sea. Made in a simple traditional way and made to be enjoyed young. Alicante Bouschet, also known as Garnacha Tintorera, as noted above, is dark red-juiced (flesh) grape, can be found throughout Spain, though almost never used as a primary or solo varietal, it is also found in Tuscany and in California, used mainly in Zinfandel based field blends in the Sonoma Valley and Dry Creek Valley areas. This wine, with just 12.5% natural alcohol, is vibrant and with a faint earthiness that gives the Albahra a bit of serious nuance and makes this quaffable wine a fine companion with simple country dishes.
($20 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive