Fino en rama Santa Petronila, December 2016

Two successive posts in relation to this, the smallest bodega in Jerez. On Thursday night a glass of cream, and on Friday night a glass of what to me seems their best wine – the fino en rama – this time in Taberna Verdejo.

The first time I had this wine I had the Saca of December 2015, with a good 10 months in the bottle and I was impressed by how expressive it was. This time it is is the saca from December 2016 with only three months in the bottle and by comparison this one is a shade lighter in colour and seemed a little more restrained and, if anything, fresh and fruity. Hints of green apples and fresh almonds on the nose – the haybales and bakery aromas and flavours are there but only in the background. On the palate again it is fresher – that suggestion of apple and fresh almonds – I didn’t detect the bitter almonds that I remembered – and a nice savoury, zingy edge and fresh finish.

A tasty wine and none the worse for that fruit – even Mrs Undertheflor enjoyed it.

 

Cream Santa Petronila 

The latest wine from Jerez’s smallest bodega nestled in Pago Macharnudo is this cream – a blend of oloroso and pedro ximenez – sampled by the glass in Territorio Era after dinner.

The photo isn’t great but it is a dark and appetising brown colour – dark raisins with a gold lining – and for a cream it has a striking nose with a lot of volatile acidity (something I also noticed in the oloroso). Not overlong or structured but it has an elegant feel to it – not at all heavy or sticky – and a very nice flavour profile of nuts and raisins, with just a little bit of edge from that acidity.

A very nice tipple once again.

Viña Matalian vs Socaire, 2014 

A nice little demonstration of what wine making choices are all about. The same fruit (palomino fino), parcel of land (Finca Matalian, near Chiclana), vintage (2014) and producer (Primitivo Collantes) but two utterly distinct wines.

The Viña Matalian was fermented in temperature controlled inox and as far as I know hasn’t had any barrel and what you get is a very quiet, refined and refreshing little wine. Very pale in colour it has a sweet almond and herb (rosemary) nose, and then a dryer, more mineral almond palate with just a hint of chalky texture. What really stood out about it for me (although to be honest I went looking for it) is how soft and smooth it was – no edges at all. Nothing spectacular but a very pleasant tipple.

By comparison the Socaire comes across as a bit of a beast. Unlike the Viña Matalian it has been barrel fermented without any temperature control, and has then spent two years in a bota – and not just any bota, but a bota that had previously held fino. The result has a more pronounced gold colour and a pungent nose that is lush by comparison, with over-ripe fruit on top of the almonds and herbs. It also has a chalky touch but there is a more pronounced bite to the minerals, and in comparison to its more refined twin it has a big personality on the palate too – far tastier for that time in the barrel.

Fascinating stuff – and brilliant with the superb tomato salad at Territorio ERA.

 

 

 

 

 

Vinos de España, Una Pasión – Seville, March 30, 2017

Yet another absolutely top drawer event on the horizon – this year’s edition of Vinos de España, Una Pasion – at which to meet winemakers and drink their wines to your heart’s content. (For details of last year check out this post.)

Once again an excellent line up of bodegas, including Emilio Hidalgo, Bodegas Urium, Gonzalez Byass, Perez Barquero from within my bailiwick, but there are many more as you can see from the above.

Full details are on the official web and more bodegas are due to be announced – will report further as details emerge, but it would be wise to save the date and maybe even get booking your travel (no decent wine on the train so BYO).

Primitivo Collantes in Enoteca Barolo

Primitivo Collantes is one of the true unsung heroes of the so called sherry revolution. He and his wines are from the Southernmost tip of el marco in Chiclana – outside the traditional centres of Jerez, Sanlucar and el Puerto – but the wines are as good as any that you will find from El Marco and on Monday Primitivo himself gave a masterclass on the new wine making in the region to a packed house in Enoteca Barolo.

A really excellent tasting in fact. As you can see above, we had explanations of the geography and climate, sobretablas from different soils, samples of the soils themselves (including from the famous Finca Matalian), wines of different styles and at different stages of ageing, explanations of the major choices made in making the wines and some really neat nuggets of technical wisdom.

Most importantly, the wines were cracking – Socaire, the Arroyuelo Fino en Rama and Amontillado Fossi you may have already heard of, but we also had the chance to try a Socaire with a touch of oxidation from an additional 8 months ageing and a frankly beautiful, elegant, light and spritely fifty year old moscatel.

As always, will take me sometime to write up my notes – for the time being my congratulations to Enoteca Barolo and the man himself. Bravo!

 

 

La Panesa – 1a saca de 2010

An interesting couple of days for evolved finos alright. The Panesa is, for me, the special fino, and this is an example from what the bodega considers was a special saca. It is a fascinating wine any day of the week and this one, with its fifteen years in the bota and seven years in the bottle, is extraordinary. It was donated and opened in Territorio Era on Saturday by Juancho Asenjo, who very kindly asked them to keep me a glass – and to be fair to the wine I have kept it waiting a little.

There is no mistaking the age. Several shades darker in colour, and loads of haybales and almost sawdust on the nose – almond dust in the background, almost like marzipan (great shout from my man David), but also that sulphurish bitterness of a sherry with time in the bottle. On the palate it is a similar story – gentle start, soft and integrated sensations and toasted bakery notes, long finish with almonds that are just a touch gingery and bitter. Still spicey and zingy, but a touch more restrained.

We take our “work” seriously on this blog so I paired this regal old Panesa with a 2016 version – and just look at the visual comparison below. 


There is no doubt about the evolution and complexity of the old’un – it has developed characteristics of its own, and there is greater integration. On the other hand for me (and again, this may be my fault since it was open several days) it lacks the spring and spark of its younger colleague – and maybe has a shade more bitterness than I am looking for.

And the verdict? I am boringly predictable in this respect, so you won’t be surprised to learn that I preferred the 2016 – I am not saying that the bottle ageing doesn’t bring something (I have had crackers that were two or three years old) but maybe this one was just a little long in the tooth. Nevertheless, a fantastic opportunity for a close look at bottle ageing for which I am very grateful. 

La Bota de Fino 2 – Jerez de la Frontera 

The first of the epic series of finos released by the guys at Equipo Navazos, of which I have had the good fortune to taste several (including the Nº35, the Nº54 and, my favourite so far, the Nº 68). This was bottled way back in June 2006 and as you can see from the ficha even back then the makers were thinking in terms of its evolution in the bottle.

As you can see, ten years later it is no longer gold with a greenish hue: a lovely rich amber instead. The nose is all hay bales and crusty bread – a real rustic bakery nose -, it has a nice profile of zingy/salinity and mouth watering finish and the flavours in between are savoury and rich in umami. A really class fino, even ten years later.

And yet there is a but here, because I can’t help comparing this refined, elegant old wine with the swashbuckling, punchy Nº68 that I enjoyed a few weeks ago. I may be in the minority, but not for the first time I find this glory (and there is no doubt it is delicious wine) to be a little faded. (Of course it may be confirmation bias: the excuse I am looking for to stop worrying about cellaring and drink up these cracking wines as soon as I can.)

I look forward to the debate on that. In the meantime, I want to take a moment to show my appreciation to Fernando at Cuenllas, who made it possible for me to try this and some other special wines during what was an absolutely phenomenal meal yesterday. Absolutely top drawer.