Can this be as good as the Fino? Well, since it is manzanilla Monday seems like the perfect time to find out.
Dark gold colour with even a touch of orange. On the nose there are grass cuttings, dried herbs, almonds, minerals, a bit of citrus, maybe creaminess. On the palate the citrus seems more present, there is zingy salinity on the sides of the tongue then dried herbs – parsley and bitter almonds and salty ozone. A nice mineral, juicy and herby manzanilla.
Now I have tasted it and jotted down my thoughts, I feel able to look up the details on the splendiferous website, which again doesn’t let anyone down. Cracking technical detail again such as:
“selected from 5 of the 41 barrels that make up the top row of the Maruja solera. The solera is organized in 4 rows of 41 to 44 barrels, one stacked upon another. The lower rows, being closer to the albero floor (a type of sand, frequently watered and used to maintain humidity in bodegas), are exposed to higher humidity and lower temperatures, the higher rows receiving lower humidity and (somewhat) higher temperatures.”
More importantly, this wine is from the same solera as the maruja and maruja manzanilla pasada – fruit from the El Hornillo pago and a highly dynamic solera – lots of rotation here. The yeast was apparently less developed and prolific on these botas: the maker thinks it has made it even more mineral but for me it is a touch less mineral than my memory of the maruja itself – and maybe a bit more full flavoured.
Look I can’t lie I am more of a fino man, particularly when they are big, generously umami finos like the splendid 4/65, but this is still lovely stuff.