Palo Blanco is Envinate’s prestige wine from Tenerife. It has a similarity to the entry-level Benje Blanco (that I reviewed here) in that it is made from Palomino Fino (known as Listan Blanco on Tenerife) and it is grown on volcanic soils.
The vines are also trained in the pleated trenzado manner, as with this wine. This allows the vines maximum sun exposure in this cool environment and means that they can catch moisture carried by the wind as it blows over the volcano.
However, unlike Benje, it is not grown from many plots of vines low down on the volcanic slope, Palo Blanco is sourced from five parcels of old vines 850 metres in altitude up on the volcano around the cliff overlooking the Atlantic. As you will read, it is definitely a Vinos Atlánticos, but it shows many more characteristics than ‘an air of the ocean’.
Why have I not had a drink yet?
Palo Blanco ‘Vinos Atlánticos’ 2021, Envinate
There is no nice way of putting this, but as I pop the bottle an aroma of eggy farts suffuses the air. I shall definitely be giving this a good swirl before I sniff it.
One pour and vigorous swirl later, the farts have blown off and it has a powerful aroma of seashells, lemon zest and a hint of volcanic sulphur. This sulphur character is caused by low fixed-nitrogen levels in the volcanic soil that results in yeasts binding sulphur compounds during fermentation.
It is not hot or heavy, being only 11.5%, but it has fantastical power to its aromas. Not dense and thick, like Condrieu, but forceful and dazzlingly complex even given its lighter aspect. Do not serve this too cold, there are so many deep, exciting, thrilling aromas to immerse yourself in!
The palate has a fabulous flavour of preserved, salted lemons. That may not sound totally delicious, but it is! It is fresh, full of citrus flavours and has a saline character far more marine and vivacious in character than the youngest of Manzanillas.
Since I mention Manzanilla and given that this is made from Palomino (Sherry’s great grape), you might conjecture that this has much in common with that fine wine.
No! No, it does not! There are hints but, slightly surprisingly, it seems that Palomino is so expressive of the Turangawaewae of where it is grown, that the wildly different terroir of Tenerife’s volcano produces a distinctly different wine.
It is lighter in weight but more direct in its delivery of its salted lemon, seashell and volcanic rock characteristics. There is more freshness and energy here as well and that fulgid, asterine complexity just lasts and lasts on the finish.
This is a wine of profound character and supreme class. Do not age it, but drink, dare I say it, in shock and awe! A first order experience.