Fernando de Castilla Antique Palo Cortado

  
This was put in front of me today at lunch and I was challenged to identify it. 

It was a little bit cold but you can see it is a beautiful colour. It was restrained on the nose – orange and walnuts – but also yeasty, definite hay bales, which made me think of an amontillado. 

On the palate too it was elegant – a bit of sweet spice first up, nicely integrated salinity and not too astringent or woody – if anything a nice fruity finish. Indeed it was mellow and elegant all through, which again made me wrongly think of amontillado. 

In summary, I got it wrong and failed to identify it – my credibility now in shreds. In my defense, it was cold and I had a cold. Looking back, however, I kind of judged it on what it was not – thought there was not enough zing, astringency and structure for it to be a palo – rather than looking for the bready, dry indicators of an amontillado. 

Was very nice though. 

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