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Envinate Benje Bianco


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Vintage: 2020
Region: Tenerife, Canary Islands
Viticulture: Organic
Grape varieties: Listan Blanco

Envinate Benje Bianco is a high-toned white wine, showing its volcanic terroir with smoky notes wrapped around the orchard fruit core.

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About Envinate Benje Bianco

Envinate Benje Bianco is sourced from several old-vine, untrained pie franco parcels of Listan Blanco (Palomino.) Each parcel is hand-harvested and vinified separately in a mix of concrete tanks and open tubs. 85% of the fruit is pressed directly off the skins, the other 15% is skin macerated for 6 days below 23C. The wine is then fermented and raised 70% in concrete under flor and 30% in 228L & 600L old French barrels for 8 months on fine lees without battonage. The finished wine is blended and bottled without filtration, clarified using natural vegetable proteins, and minimal SO2 added. Benje Blanco is a high-toned white wine, showing its volcanic terruño with smoky notes wrapped around the orchard fruit core, braced by Atlantic-infused high-elevation acidity. Pair it with prawns, scallops, roasted pork, or goat.

About Envinate

Envínate (translates as “wine yourself”) is the brainchild of 4 friends, winemakers Roberto Santana, Alfonso Torrente, Laura Ramos, and José Martínez. This gang of 4 formed back in 2005 while studying enology at the University of Miguel Hernandez in Alicante. Upon graduation, they formed a winemaking consultancy, which evolved into Envínate, a project that focuses on exploring distinctive parcels mainly in the Atlantic-inflected regions of Ribeira Sacra and the Canary Islands. Their collective aim is to make profoundly pure and authentic wines that express the terruño of each parcel in a clear and concise manner. To this end, no chemicals are used in any of the Envínate vineyards, all parcels are picked by hand, the grapes are foot-trodden, and the wines are fermented exclusively with wild yeasts, with a varying proportion of whole grape clusters included. For aging, the wines are raised in old barrels and concrete, and sulfur is only added at bottling if needed. The results are some of the most exciting and honest wines being produced in Spain today.

About the Canary Islands

The Canary Islands (or Las Canarias) archipelago is an autonomous community of Spain in the North Atlantic Ocean, located 70 miles (110km) off the west coast of Morocco. The wine trade here is far from famous – little local wine makes it out of the Canaries at all – but there is a long and reasonably idiosyncratic winemaking tradition in the region.

The dramatic, lofty Canary Islands sit at a latitude of roughly 28°N – making them the most tropical of Europe’s wine regions. It is thanks to this position, once crisscrossed by naval trade routes, that the local wine industry first flourished – not long after the islands came under Spanish control in the early 15th Century. The region’s famed sweet Malmsey wine, made from the Malvasia grape, was hugely popular with the English, Dutch, and Germans, but its popularity didn’t last. Today, very little of the local wine is exported, due to strong local demand and thriving tourism industry. Ten areas were officially granted DO status in the 1990s and early 2000s.

The Canary Islands are perhaps best known for their otherworldly landscapes and warm temperatures that draw millions of tourists every year. Spectacular razor-sharp cliffs, golden sand dunes, seemingly endless coastline, and the lunar-like volcanic terrain of Lanzarote are far better known than the region’s wines.

Because of the hot and humid tropical conditions that prevail here, the Canary Islands are not, in theory, ideal for growing grapes for wine. Indeed wines have been made from other warm-climate fruits, including bananas. But they have individual climatic and topographical features that make wine production possible. The altitude of the stone-terrace vineyards is vital and for the majority, it ranges from 500 to 1000 meters (1640-3280ft) – sometimes even higher. This ensures that freshness and acidity are maintained in the grapes. Another important factor is the soil, which is largely derived from the islands’ volcanic activity. The soil imparts mineral and subtle, salty notes to the otherwise largely aromatic local wines.

A vast range of indigenous grapes are grown for wine, and international varieties are largely absent. Listan Blanco (Palomino), Malvasia, Marmajuelo, Listan Negro and Tintilla are just some of the authorized grapes. The local varieties are suited to the sub-tropical climate and achieve high must weight, a reason the trend has been to produce sweet wines, including fortified ones aged oxidatively. Some are regarded as being of extremely high quality and demand high prices due to their complex nature. The production of quality wines is aided by the islands’ overall growing conditions as well as the age of the vines (phylloxera never reached here and imported rootstock was not needed).

The Canaries’ largest island, Tenerife, houses half of the region’s DOs: Abona, Tacoronte-Acentejo, Valle de Guimar, Valle de la Orotava and Ycoden-Daute-Isora. The remaining designations cover the islands (in their entirety) of El Hierro, Gran Canaria, La Gomera, La Palma, and Lanzarote. Each area has a unique microclimate and soil composition, lending to distinctive wines with signature mineral notes.