Once again, just look at the colour of that. I write often about what a special place Territorio Era is and this sort of thing is one of the (many) reasons: the chance to try a special six year old manzanilla like this one.
Antonio Barbadillo started selecting and bottling limited releases of manzanillas in 2010 and so this is one of the very first, selected from Bodegas Sanchez Ayala of Gabriela, Gabriela Oro and Galeon fame. It is a bodega that has also been a happy hunting ground for the guys at Equipo Navazos and in general has a bit of a cult following (at least on this blog). The wines tend to be very incisive, but with a relatively pronounced and quite distinctive esparto grass character – like a stilleto in a velvet glove (note: not sure about this simile will try and think of something better). I still remember Antonio’s selection from the end of 2012 – my favourite of the series so far – so was really keen to try this.
As you can see, the colour is extraordinary. These wines tend to evolve relatively quickly – they are absolutely unfiltered and untreated – and after only six years this is a rich brown colour. (I say “only” six years – I have had en rama finos that were ten years old and had not got half as far as this.) The nose is also evolved, a lovely sweetness to it, esparto grass aroma but sweetened as if it had been wet and was just starting to rot.
On the palate it is smooth and full in flavour, baked apple and nuts and mellow salinity – waters the mouth and lasts and lasts. Unlike some wines with time in the bottle I didn’t notice added bitterness. I must admit, though, that I was left hankering for a bit more vertical punch and incision (so much so that I had glass of the 2016 to compare) and ultimately felt that it had maybe gone a little past its absolute peak (which I reckon is around three to four years, if you can wait that long).
A lovely old wine though, and the mellowing of the years has only made it more drinkable.