This is one of the tastiest and most compelling under $30 reds we’ve tried this year. It is from Envinate, one of the most exciting and refreshing labels to come out of Spain in recent memory. Along with producers such as Terroir Al Limit in Priorat, they are taking Spanish wine into a future of freshness, balance and vineyard expression and is turning out delicious and approachable wines. These wines are hard to come by, and we were very pleased when we tasted this last week and learned we could source a few cases.
Envínate (translates as "wine yourself") is the brainchild of 4 friends, winemakers Roberto Santana, Alfonso Torrente, Laura Ramos, and José Martínez. They formed in 2005 while studying enology in Alicante. Upon graduation, they formed a winemaking consultancy, which evolved into Envínate, a project that focuses on producing pure and expressive wines from Mencia in Ribeira Sacra and Listan Negro (among others) from the Canary Islands.
However, the Alhabra is a Garnacha (Grenache) from south-east Spain toward Alicante. Albahra (Castilian for “small sea”) is named for the vineyard area in the Almansa region close to the town of Albacete, located at the southeastern tip of Castilla-La Mancha. It is a blend of 70% Garnacha Tintorera and 30% Moravia Agria. The Garnacha Tintorera is from a 3 hectare vineyard on clay/calcareous soils. The Moravia Agria (a high-acid, low alcohol blending grape) is from a single vineyard on sandy clay-calcareous soils in neighbouring Manchuela.
No chemicals are used in any of the Envínate vineyards, all parcels are hand-picked, the grapes are foot-trodden, and the wines are fermented exclusively with wild yeasts, with a varying proportion of whole grape clusters included. This gives an incredibly fragrant and peppery aroma in this wine. The wines are aged in old barrels and concrete vessels, with limited sulphur. The results are some of the most exciting and honest wines being produced in Spain today.
This is a wine is dark in the glass, with a high-toned nose, florals, red fruit, loads of pepper and graphite, crushed rock and some smoke. The palate bursts with juicy red and black fruits, loads of spice and a refreshing structure. The flavours, freshness and balance make it a delicious drink now wine and is a great springtime table wine. It’s an extremely versatile food wine, especially with Mediterranean meats and seafood. Try with lamb ribs, charcuterie, seafoods braised in red sauce and chorizo.
The 2017 scored an impressive 93 points from Robert Parker. The 2018 was a stronger vintage, drier and with more flavour on show. We expect the 2018 will also score well. We hope you enjoy it.
Tom and Dan