An interesting couple of days for evolved finos alright. The Panesa is, for me, the special fino, and this is an example from what the bodega considers was a special saca. It is a fascinating wine any day of the week and this one, with its fifteen years in the bota and seven years in the bottle, is extraordinary. It was donated and opened in Territorio Era on Saturday by Juancho Asenjo, who very kindly asked them to keep me a glass – and to be fair to the wine I have kept it waiting a little.
There is no mistaking the age. Several shades darker in colour, and loads of haybales and almost sawdust on the nose – almond dust in the background, almost like marzipan (great shout from my man David), but also that sulphurish bitterness of a sherry with time in the bottle. On the palate it is a similar story – gentle start, soft and integrated sensations and toasted bakery notes, long finish with almonds that are just a touch gingery and bitter. Still spicey and zingy, but a touch more restrained.
We take our “work” seriously on this blog so I paired this regal old Panesa with a 2016 version – and just look at the visual comparison below.
There is no doubt about the evolution and complexity of the old’un – it has developed characteristics of its own, and there is greater integration. On the other hand for me (and again, this may be my fault since it was open several days) it lacks the spring and spark of its younger colleague – and maybe has a shade more bitterness than I am looking for.
And the verdict? I am boringly predictable in this respect, so you won’t be surprised to learn that I preferred the 2016 – I am not saying that the bottle ageing doesn’t bring something (I have had crackers that were two or three years old) but maybe this one was just a little long in the tooth. Nevertheless, a fantastic opportunity for a close look at bottle ageing for which I am very grateful.