Manzanilla Entusiastica

Advertised as the first “ecological” manzanilla (strikes me as surprising but if they say so). Has bright, modern (clear glass) and cheeky packaging – a naked chap on the (natural) cork no less. He doesn’t look all that enthusiastic to be honest, and I would admit to misgivings myself when picking this up from Vila Viniteca last week, if only because I tend to be a bit suspicious of anything gimmicky.

I soon overcame any such doubts tasting it however. This is a subtly floral fruity manzanilla that is right up one of my many streets and different enough to be interesting.

The colour is a rich gold, and the nose is like a palomino table wine: less aromatic than I expect from a manzanilla, fruit with a hint of herbs and cheese. On the palate too it is less mineral and more organic than many. The minerals are there – a little buzz on the tongue – and so are those same flavours, but maybe it is a little underpowered in punch and length. More interesting and different than I expected – and nice flavours too.

…. Coming back to this a day later I have now located this interesting piece by (which also seems to be with some excellent detail. Ecologically grown, single vineyard palomino from pago Burujena de Jerez  (where he also apparently is growing some “castellano” – one of those 40 odd varieties). The first harvest was 2012, refreshed in 2013 and 2014 and this is the first saca from October 2015. What is fascinating is that the first year was presumably the solera, 2013 provided a first criadera, 2014 a second, etc: the criaderas would have been literally stacking up as the years go by. This may of course explain why this tastes so fresh and raw – not only if the wine only three years under flor but the solera is brand new, so the average ages will be well down. I am not sure I have ever had a wine from a new solera before.

In fact a day later as a wine it has lost the element of surprise a little – it still has the fresh, raw character I mentioned but the fruit doesn’t stand out to me quite as much (the nose actually seems a little alcoholic), and I find myself missing some of the mineral freshness on the finish of a classic manzanilla.

Nevertheless, it is a rare example of a really new solera (new and proud of it) and for that alone worth trying – and coming back to over the years to see how it might evolve.


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