From the comments you read and hear the great wines from Jerez with a bit of personality are often likened to their cousins up in Burgundy, so I thought I would take advantage of having a nice Chassagne Montrachet open to have another look at the Fino la Barajuela.
The Burgundy was glorious, a beautiful bright gold colour, a nice flowery, lemon and limestone nose, then elegance, balance and precision with flavoura of nectar and pollen, pear or apple and citrus acidity. Absolutely top class (I may be over-egging it but it was even better than I expected.)
The Barajuela is the business too but goes about that business in a markedly different manner. The chardonnay is full of fruit and so is the Barajuela – in fact it has more fruit than many of its peers in the sherry triangle, but maybe what strikes you most is the salinity in nose and palate, and the way the salinity and zing takes the place of the acidity. Do they leave room for the full range of flavours that the burgundy has? Perhaps not, but on the other hand the Barajuela’s minerals and muscle give it a different dimension, a uniqueness that lifts it above the comparison.
I originally wrote this note in terms of a comparison but I realize now – thanks to a comment from Alvaro Giron – that that is unhelpful. These are very different kettles of fish and it is the differences that are illuminating. My verdict: don’t buy the Barajuela if what you want is a chardonnay. It is something else.