A tale of two summers (and the winter in between) 

I will leap at any excuse to help myself to have a sup of these little beauties and fortunately just such an excuse presented itself recently. In a recent tasting, the guys at Elmundovino.com tasted both of these and came to the view that while the Solear en rama of Summer 2016 (teal or garganey) was more robust and full of life, it’s year in the bottle had given the Solear en rama of Summer 2015 (the red-necked nightjar) greater complexity. It inspired Victor de la Serna to write an editorial on the need to revise the traditional views on en rama sherries, and it has also inspired me to have a crack at the same comparison. (Credit where it is due, aa comparison made possible by the fact that Lavinia in Madrid still had some of the Summer 2015).

To give the exercise a hint of scientific rigour after the photos were taken I had the glasses shuffled so I could taste them blind (as the guys at elmundovino.com do) and I can certainly see where they are coming from. No doubt there was a difference and, not wanting to boast, I had no trouble identifying the 2015 (although I might have had more trouble had I not first read the other tasting notes). What I think of as the “bottle effect” (broadly speaking, fruit turning to herbs, herbs to spice) is definitely there in the 2015, and the 2016 was to me notably zingier, spicier, and longer. Personally, I reckon I prefer the 2016 but they are both right up my street.

On the basis that one might as well be hung for a sheep (or a razorbill), and since I had a spare bottle lying around, I thought it would be of interest to compare them both to the Solear en rama of Winter 2015.

Back in the day I tasted the Winter 2015 (Razorbill) against the Spring 2016 (Roller) and looking back at the tasting then I found those two quite close together. Compared against the two summer editions, though, the Razorbill is less fragrant (although it hasn’t been open as long) and more saline, with more zingy buzz, than either. If pushed, I would say the seasonal difference is maybe even bigger than the year in the bottle. Again, this fits the theory (and I didn’t, it must be said, taste this one blind) since the summer sacas are from botas whose flor, in the heat, is said to be less vigorous and the wine as a result has just had a little less of the flor “action”, while the winter saca would have had a veil of flor in peak condition.

More evidence, then, of the great value of this series, the need to taste every season, and the possible value of keeping them for a while in the cellar. Not that I needed any persuading on any of those fronts!



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