Has been an intense start to the new academic year with a lot of work and, for some reason, a lot of hangovers, so apologies for the delay in getting around to writing up these notes of what was an absolutely fantastic tasting nearly two weeks ago (gulp).
I have written before about the genius concept of this Colección Añadas, about a few of the individual wines and also about an interloper in this tasting: the Vintage Fino from 2006. What made this tasting so interesting, though, was the chance to taste them all in close succession and the resulting comparisons were revealing.
Since the Collection is known as the “añadas” (or “vintages”) collection we felt we should go vintage by vintage (although it would also have been good to go biological first etc – if only we had had two sets, and time) so here we go in order.
- 2012 Fino- I really liked it. Very clean nose of almonds, fresh, compact and elegant, nice sensation of acidity gives it an incisive entry and then it has decent salinity, stretching out the finish. Really good and to my mind another great advert for this style of younger finos.
- 2012 Oloroso – again very good. The almonds are still there on the nose and on the palate but they are toasted on the palate and there is a clear oloroso imprint to it. Bit heavier, slightly spicier flavour but not as much acidity up front and a touch less salinity. Less elegant in profile and a bit more boisterous, you would say.
- 2009 Fino – if anything the impression I had was that there was more fruit in the 2009 than the 2012 fino but this could be because it was slightly less compact. The saline zing up front and the fresh finish are more marked and the hazelnut/juiciness also seems more pronounced – gives it balance if not quite elegance.
- 2009 Oloroso – again big on flavour and this is for me the best of the olorosos. Again heavier bodied than the fino but now the sweet hazelnut flavours are much more pronounced making it a really juicy wine.
- 2006 Fino – probably my favourite wine on the night, this really had a bit of everything. Not a straight comparison with the other since this was bottled in 2014, so really had 8 years under the flor compared to 7 for the 2009, and has had two years in the bottle. Whatever the case you have to say it was bottled bang in its prime – a lovely combination of salinity and almonds that almost gives you dairy aromas, zingy minerals, a creamy texture, those flavours, a long fresh finish. Absolutely brilliant.
- 2003 Amontillado – ran it pretty close however. This would be the smoothest, most elegant and drinkable 20% alcohol wine I can remember, with sweet hazelnut beginning to mix in with the bitter almond flavours and a touch of acidity to go with the minerals. Difficult not to enjoy this.
- 2003 Oloroso – had a tough task following those last two wines and was noticeably less refined and compact – the fino/oloroso gap opening over the years. Hazelnut flavours beginning to taste toasted, nice acidic spiciness and more obvious alcoholic heat.
I feel like the tasting gave me an insight into the curve that these wines follow as they age under flor or in the open air. On the other hand, despite an identifiable common personality, given the different amounts of ageing I found it hard to get a feeling for the different vintages as such, and as I look back I have almost more questions than answers. In particular I would love to be able to taste the mostos that were used and know a bit more about them.
As I say, at the end I wished I could start again (but as it happened a magnum of an excellent 2004 Finca Sandoval took my mind off it – thanks Victor!).
No doubt about it though, seven excellent, enjoyable wines and educational too – well done to Williams & Humbert on a fantastic collection.