This is a very highly rated, very special wine by the guys at Equipo Navazos – one of a series of Palo Cortados (together with the numbers 41 and 48) from the bota “GF 30”, a bota of wine with an estimated age of somewhere between 50 to 80 years, originally made by Gaspar Florido in Sanlucar but rescued by Equipo Navazos from industrial surroundings in the outskirts in 2007 and now housed in the “Sacristy” of Bodegas Pedro Romero in central Sanlucar, very near Gaspar Florido’s original bodega.
I have not had the 41 but have had the 48 twice and now this and I would have to say I have had mixed experiences. The first time I had the 48 I had it during a game of snooker with a good mate and although we loved its nose and flavours, we both found it just too chewy and astringent – real walnut skin juice. The second time I had it, on the other hand, it was my favourite wine at a very high quality cata of top class palo cortados – the sheer range of flavours giving it a slight edge despite a strange nose.
I took this 51 to a pretty special dinner with a group of great friends who happen to be pretty vocal wine enthusiasts. If this were a champagne blog I would write you a dissertation on the absolutely sublime magnum of Henri Abelé Millesime 1990, not to mention a white 2007 Chateau Rayas and an awesome 2008 Les Chenes by Michel Lafarge, amongst others (this is how I know they are great friends). We also gave it every chance to shine – bang on temperature, decanted in advance, good stemware and a receptive audience.
It was a beautiful chestnut colour and had a fine, spicey almost sweet nose. It was also superbly structured – an acidic attack and big full shape to it – and full of toasted (almost burnt), nutty caramel, but, particularly in the company (and maybe in part due to the expectation) just a little one dimensional in flavour and not quite holding its shape for long.
Overall, to be quite honest it suffered a little in comparison to the other wines and did not quite live up to its own hype. Very nice but I really start to wonder if these wines are great for tastings (I can imagine this doing well compared to other palos) but not quite as great on the road – it reminded me of the way the even more highly rated Bota de Amontillado 49 failed to impress at a dinner back in May.