Night of the Pitijopos – Part I

Big night last night with lots of sherry to report on, but first the main event: the “Pitijopos, Volume I: from North to South” by Cota 45.

It really is a fascinating project – six “mostos” – the base palomino wines used as the key material in sherry and manzanilla (and, increasingly, a lot of other stuff) from six different pagos on four different types of albariza soil. All from the sherry area (the “marco” in the lingo) in a band 50km North to South and 25 km West to East. It gives us a great opportunity to explore two really interesting questions: how these different soils and areas translate into wines; and, almost as important, the potential of these mostos to become the top table wines that the boys down in Cadiz seem to think.

We were guests at one of Madrid’s shrines to good wine and good living – the Chula de Chamberi – who looked after us fantastically, and we did it properly, tasting our Pitijopos at about 10-12 degrees with empty stomachs (before dining with a cracking lineup of other wines, about which more later).

Frankly my notes are not everything they could be and my recollection is blurred due to a possibly over enthusiastic consumption but, for what they are worth, here are my thoughts on the wines themselves.

  • #1 – Trebujena – northwest face of the pago del Duque on Tosca Cerrada – piercing citric, mineral nose which quitened down, slightly bitter citrus and mineral flavours on the palate, hints of reduction;
  • #2 – Sanlúcar – north face of the pago de la Callejuela (pago de rio) again on Tosca Cerrada – big farmyard, ferrous metal nose that mellowed to undergrowth and nuts, solid and serious on the palate holding its shape better;
  • #3 – Rota – south face of the pago Barragan on Albariza Parda – incredibly floral, fruity and sweet nose and fresh, floral taste first up, but less intense and seemed to die away rather than opening up;
  • #4 – Jerez 1 – northeast face of the pago de Añina on Barajuela – earthy, metallic nose maybe even damp undergrowth, more elegant on the palate with a nice citrus fresh finish
  • #5 – Jerez 2 – north face of the pago de Macharnudo again on Barajuela – even more serious wine, earthy, citrus and mineral nose and seems more intense, saline on the palate
  • #6 – Chiclana – west face of the pago de Matalian on Albariza Tajon – really lively, fruity nose, with lychee, mandarin and minerals, and elegant on the palate with more minerals and honey notes

Overall, I reckon my favourites were 6, 2, and 5 in that order, but not with much conviction: 3 started beautifully but faded away, 4 was probably the most elegant of them all and 1 had some really interesting, more complex flavours and aromas.

More generally, and most importantly, the differences between these wines – even between wines from the same neighbourhoods/soil types – were notable and very interesting: some were floral, fruity and aromatic, some were serious and metallic, some piercing.  If the object of the exercise was to demonstrate the potential of terroir then noone last night was left in any doubt.

Also, while clearly not the finished article, the potential of the wines was equally clear. There was a really nice freshness and life to them and some really attractive noses, flavours and features. It is easy to see why their makers are excited about them.

And the final verdict?  Absolutely fantastic. A great idea well executed and an argument conclusively won in the most elegant way possible. Long life to Cota 45 and  can’t wait for Volume II.



18 thoughts on “Night of the Pitijopos – Part I

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