So here is a wine you don’t see around a lot. Emilio Hidalgo is probably my favourite single label – as if La Panesa were not enough on its own they also make El Tresillo and El Tresillo 1874, not to mention El Privilegio 1860 and the ethereal Santa Ana PX. In fact the only wine I hadn’t tried before from this bodega is this Marques de Rodil “especial” palo cortado, which had an average age of anywhere between 15-20 years when it was bottled in 2013.
As you can see, it is beautifully clear. (I like to take pictures against this table cloth – the straight lines help give an impression of turbidity – as you can see above this wine is as clear as a bell. It is also a relatively pale amber colour – at least a shade lighter than you might expect from a palo cortado. The nose is also different – there is a kind of semi-volatile aroma there, not as sharp as in the amontillados, with saltiness and caramel in the background and to be honest the lack of definition is off putting: it smells reductive for all the world, as if it were a red wine with poorly integrated sulphur. (Maybe it is just my bottle – I am going to double check.)
On the palate it doesn’t suffer as badly and has a lovely combination of caramel, bite and salinity, with a long finish that seems to suggest fruit. The zingy salinity, in particular, is very noticeable for a palo cortado, but if anything it seems elegant and maybe lacking the structure of the racier palo cortados.
A typically elegant wine this one but I must admit I find the nose difficult.