CGWF17: Part 2 – Zerej Volume II 

There is a lot to like about Armando Guerra’s Zerej releases, of which this is the second.

The first volume would be a few years ago now and was something of a pioneer: a boxed set of four magnums of wines for with different amounts of biological ageing, accompanied by an explanatory booklet. The idea is for a group of friends to hammer their way through the four magnums and the booklet and by so doing learn about the miracle of the flor. I never tried it but would have loved it – and the format (in particular the magnums) is dead right.

The second volume is the oxidative ageing version and now Armando Guerra has the full might of Barbadillo behind him, so your box includes magnums of a white wine (in the style of Mirabras), an amontillado (think Principe de Barbadillo), an oloroso (the classic Cuco) and a stately old palo cortado (Obispo Gascon). This time around I did get the chance to try them, although not without some difficulty: on the day the man was absolutely mobbed as the locals piled in.

They are classic wines, full of the spikey character I associate with Barbadillo. Really interesting too to be able to taste the spicey, vegetable white wine and see the evolution in that character. They also undoubtedly serve their educational purpose – particularly if you had the discipline to wade through the accompanying literature – although for my money more an illustration of classic styles than the effects purely of oxidative ageing (I wouldn’t mind seeing the same wine with six, twelve and eighteen years of oxidation, say).

Not sure how many of these sets there are, but given Barbadillo’s distribution muscle there must be a chance of this being available internationally. I certainly hope so – there are too few opportunities to sit down with four magnums of sherry and a few mates!

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