Came across this little gem of an oloroso by Sanchez Ayala in Sanlucar for the second time a few days ago at a very very boozy barbecue with friends. I failed to take a picture so the above is from the last time (and a cracking pairing in La Chula), but I can promise you it looked pretty much the same.
It made me realize that some of my recent musings on the differences between the traditional wines of Sanlucar and Jerez were a little off beam. I had made the mistake of writing Sanlucar down as the home only of austere amontillados like Quo Vadis and the epic amontillado viejo Don Paco. Tasting this on the other hand brought to mind a very different style of wine, with the salinity and zing of a Sanlucar wine but a lovely rich caramel to it as well and the result is as tasty as it is elegant and balanced. (It reminded me, in fact, of two other cracking olorosos from Sanlucar: El Cerro and the 1986 Vintage Oloroso by Hidalgo-La Gitana.)
Am I imagining the salinity? My very nebulous grip of how these wines age makes me think that I might be, but there is no doubting the mineral nature and elegance of this. Really delicious, excellent stuff (and just as good with barbecue).
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