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 2018 Benje Blanco comes from the south of the island and was produced with Listán Blanco, the local strain of Palomino. This is a blend of different plots of vey old vines at high altitude, 900 to 1,100 meters above sea level. The thing that is different about this wine is that 65% of the volume matured in concrete tanks under a veil of yeasts, flor, in search of a sharper texture rather than aromas or flavors, as these yeasts eat glycerin and make finer wines. The rest was aged in used 228-liter oak barrels with the lees and then was blended and bottled. This has lots of character, mixing the varietal notes with volcanic notes, and it is fresher (much fresher) than the 2018. There is a hint of flor on the palate, more of a texture than a set of flavors. The warm and cooler years are more challenging in the south of Tenerife (here) than in the north (Taganana and La Orotava). 2018 was much cooler, and the vines behaved well; the key is to keep the leaves because otherwise the grapes dehydrate rapidly.
92 points, Wine Advocate (September 2020)