Over the past few years, a group of young winemakers and growers have begun to change our perception of Spanish wine. Although plenty of winemakers still put out heavily oaked, high-alcohol Rioja imitations, a few have turned their focus to a fresher, more terroir-reflective style with minimal intervention and indigenous varieties. Leading this small revolution is the intrepid winemaking collective Envínate (translation: wine yourself). These have quickly become some of the most revered, coveted, and outright delicious wines in Spain.
Today we're pleased to offer a small selection of Envínate's Canary Island wines.
Envínate actually isn't a single winemaker or estate, but rather a group of four friends who all met while studying enology at the University of Alicante. Together, they explore unique parcels of old vines around the country, with a particular focus on the Canary Islands and Ribeira Sacra. Working in collaboration with local farmers, they're shedding light on the parts of Spain that haven't always garnered critical attention but produce some of the most unique wines in the country.
The Envínate wines are completely unlike the Spanish wines most people are used to. These are brilliantly fresh wines with a tension and fruit purity that calls to mind Burgundy or the Jura. The Envinate gang refers to their wines as "Vinos Atlanticos," wines strongly influenced by the Atlantic ocean, and this is right on the money: yes, the classic Spanish richness of fruit is there, but it's backed by the briskness of a coastal breeze and the dark grip of volcanic soils.
We're offering four Canary Islands wines today, two red and two white, all hailing from the Taganana region in Tenerife's far northeastern corner. Now more popular with hikers than grape growers, this region has some of the oldest volcanic soils in the world. The vines range in age from 50 to over 120 years of age, and are tended to organically despite the region's extreme humidity. Only local varieties are used, including Listan Blanco, Gual, Listan Negro, and plenty that haven't even been identified. Winemaking is hands-off and emphasizes minerality over power: fermenting and aging in large, neutral wood for the whites, plenty of whole cluster and gentle extraction for the reds. The result is a serious sense of verve and balance that has turned these into easily the hottest wines in Spain right now. We have a very limited amount; these wines are hard to come by and only getting more so each year.