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  • Writer's pictureJohn Paul Kaminga

Canary Islands: Envínate Palo Blanco


We really love Envínate. Their wines are exciting, engaging, diverting... often quite unlike other wines, they are just extraordinary. I would count some of them among the most distinctive wines on Earth. We also tend to find them downright delicious. The two vintages that I've tried of their Palo Blanco have me utterly convinced of this wine's greatness, and I am psyched that I finally have enough to offer it here (n.b. it is still very limited). I haven't tasted the 2021 vintage yet, but I'll paste my notes on the 2019 and 2018 vintages below (how did I let you guys buy all of the 2020 and not leave me one? I dunno). I'll also paste some info from the importer because they do a great job explaining what Envínate is up to in general, as well as specifically with Palo Blanco.


Envínate Palo Blanco 2021 - $53

This wine ain't cheap, but it is a bargain in the context of great wine made in small quantities. Interesting, by the way, how many very expensive wines are made in relatively large quantities...

Envínate Palo Blanco 2019 - not available

Toast, smoke, lemon preserves, golden raisins, wild mint, dried flowers.... viscous and rich on the palate, herbal and stony inner perfume, full and intense but tart and fresh overall. Myriad herbal notes through the tangy and saline finish. Distinctive and delicious. This is cool stuff. I could see it aging beautifully for another 5+, maybe much longer.


Envínate Palo Blanco 2018 - not available

Delightful, I would probably call this a very fine reductive Chablis if tasting blind. Aromas of preserved lemon, green apple, iris, honey, snuffed candle, sea breeze, airy wild herbs... Silky, chalky, tart, salty, this has so much going on, and the reduction is much more integrated on the palate and through the finish. Long tart salty finish, great intensity and complexity. This rules. Should be worth following at least another couple years.

From the importer (but the parenthetical italics are me):

Origin

Los Realejos, Tenerife, Canary Islands.


Varieties

100% Listan Blanco (aka Palomino)


Vineyard

From four parcels of 100+ year-old vines (cepas VELLAS, woohoo!) near Los Realejos, all north-facing (very important here, the Canary Islands are so different than most wine regions... who wants to sign up for a private Canary Islands seminar? email me) and trained in the traditional cordón trenzado at 500-850m above sea level. The only treatments in the vineyard are sulfur, bentonite, and silica.


Vinification Method The grapes were destemmed and pressed then fermented spontaneously in concrete without temperature control. The wine was racked into one 2500L foudre and 350L barrels to rest and undergo malolactic fermentation. Bottled without fining, filtering, and only a small addition of sulfur.


Properties

Alcohol: 11.5% (check that out!)

pH: 3.00

Total Sulfur: <25mg/l (1.5mg/L added at bottling)

Bottles Made: 12000 750ml bottles, 287 1500ml bottles.

Producer Profile

Envínate (“wine yourself”) is the brainchild of Laura Ramos, Jose Martínez, Roberto Santana, and Alfonso Torrente, four friends who met while studying winegrowing at the University of Miguel Hernández in Alicante. Their work, both in the vineyard and winery, is focused on exploring the ancient, Atlantic-infused terruños of Ribeira Sacra and the Canary Islands, as well as exceptional vineyard plots across the Iberian Peninsula. The Envínate philosophy is simple: let each parcel fully express itself in the finished wine by utilizing old-fashioned farming and winemaking methods.

Vintage Report

2021 brought 600L of very welcome rain to Los Realejos, restoring the vines and soils after years of drought. The high altitude plots that Envínate works were further spared the excessive heat that hit the island in August, and 2021 is one of the best vintages yet of Palo Blanco as a result: the grapes ripened slowly and evenly and were in perfect condition at harvest in September and October.

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