Evínate Benje Blanco Listán Blanco Tenerife
The Benje Blanco is quite a different prospect. The vines are too long, the hills too steep, the varieties too many to remember and, if that wasn’t enough, Envínate makes the wine in part in concrete vats under flor (think Jura and Sherry). There’s a little skin contact too, though the deep colour would suggest more than just a little. The balance of the wine is aged in Burgundian oak barrels and foudres.
For the fruit profile, think of green apples and pears – their skins on the nose and flesh on the palate. A little citrus, too, and not a little herbal. The age of the vines (70- to 100+-years-old) and method of making gives the wine such deep and nuanced complexity, with a gravelly, wet stone minerality to the finish. Like the Parcela Margalagua, there is a touch of salinity. This is a serious white wine.
The white 2017 Benje Blanco is produced with Listán Blanco (a.k.a. Palomino) grapes from Santiago del Teide. After their experience working in Montilla Moriles with flor, they started using it here too. So, in 2017, 35% of the wine matured in concrete vats with a layer of flor yeasts (and that percentage goes up to 60% in 2018!), as they like the result—it sharpens the wines and makes them finer. It also gives the wine a spicy twist, more complexity and depth, more nuance. The wine is only around 12%, and despite that, the flor is quite healthy and thick, more in the style of Sherry than Jura. It has a little bit of nut and a yeasty character, very subtle—perhaps also aided by the Mediterranean year—and the palate is sharp and dry, serious and tasty. The volume that does not age in concrete with flor is in topped-up 228-liter barrels, and the élevage was around seven months. They now work more vineyards in the zone. They have vineyards to produce some 22,000 bottles, but they only produced 15,000 bottles because they had to discard a lot of grapes because of the heat wave. It was bottled in June 2018.
91 points, Wine Advocate (May 2019)