Vine Path Blog 10/19: The New Cool From Spain
Spain, it seems, has always kind of played second fiddle to the wines of Italy and France, perhaps mostly due to the decades long fascist rule of the teetotaler Franco and his weird viticultural choices. Franco wouldn’t permit the export of Spanish wine and mostly made it impossible to make boutique wine that wasn’t made for sacraments until his retirement in 1975. Since then there has been an explosion of quality producers taking advantage of the countries over 400 unique varietals and old vineyard sites. In our minds, the two most dynamic and exciting places for wine in Spain today are the Canary Islands and Catalonia and the two most exhilarating producers from these emerging regions are Envinate and Partida Creus.
Envinate (which means “wine yourself”) was started by four winemaker friends in 2005 with the idea to produce elegant natural wines that express a sense of place, time, and varietal. Their Canary Island wines come from the island of Tenerife where they take advantage of the area’s incredible array of unique varietals and old vineyards. Here the vineyards are all planted up on the volcano on steep terraces, which, along with cooling winds off the Atlantic, help moderate the temperature. For Benje Tinto and Blanco, they source Listan Blanco and Listan Prieto from old vineyards planet on their own root stock. The wines are lively and salty, as good Canary Island wine should be, with pronounced aromas and racy acidity. The white is crispy, bright, and exploding with ripe fruit while the red showcases spicy aromas unique to the island’s wines.
Over 2000 kilometers away is the winery of Partida Creus, Envinate’s Catalonian spiritual counterpart. Just like Envinate, Partida Creus is focused on making natural wines from native varietals that express the region’s unique sense of place. The project was started in 2000 by an Italian couple looking to switch careers and they quickly became a major player in the burgeoning natural wine movement. For VN Blanco they source grapes from old parcels of Xarel-lo, Vinyater, Moscatel, Garnacha Blanca, Parellada, and Macabeu, all native to the region. VN Tinto is no different, itself being a blend of Trepat, Sumoll, Garrut, and several other red varietals native to the area. The wines are brisk and energetic, showing a side of Catalonia rarely seen these days.
While we wish we could have the wines of Partida Creus and Envinate all year round, they’ve become hot commodities in the past few years making it increasingly hard for us to acquire. We’re excited to get the opportunity to share these rares wines with you and we hope the experience of drinking them is an enlightening on.