The search for the lost butt of wine

en-busca-de-la-bota-perdida

I am pretty sure the title of this nice piece (in Spanish) in Metropoli is a reference to the great series of novels by Marcel Proust (which I always associated more closely with little cakes and involuntary siestas) but you never know it may be a literal reference to people searching for “forgotten” butts of wine. In any event the article certainly covers a phenomenon in the wines of Jerez which has always struck me as fascinating: the guys that go hunting in other people’s bodegas to find special barrels for release to the public.

The usual suspects are here: Equipo Navazos, who have probably been operating longest and have released an ever wider variety of wines, some of which are really extreme and exotic; and Antonio Barbadillo’s Sacristia AB, also long established but more focussed, you would say, on classic styles and profiles. But the article also references some of the fresher faces on the block: Alexander Jules, the collaboration between Lustau and Juan Ruiz Henestrosa of Aponiente (which reminds me that I still haven’t tried that wine) and Federico Ferrer’s Cuatrogatos Wine Club.

I really think these limited bottlings help to generate interest in the wines of the region as a whole and the concept of the “lost bota” is definitely a good one in marketing terms. But if I were to criticize the piece at all it would be that they in fact don’t give enough credit to some of th winemakers involved. The Equipo Navazos “Florpower” white wines and Socaire and Golpe Maestro involved far more than finding old disregarded botas. Rather, these are top class wines being made in innovative ways. Indeed, Sacristia AB and Alexander Jules also do a bit more than just snaffle up botas that they find: as Alexander Jules’ excellent website explains, their wines are often from intermediate criaderas, specific sections of soleras and bodegas.

Nevertheless, bravo to all concerned, and in particular Metropoli!

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