Willy Perez in Taberna Palo Cortado

A very special night last night in Taberna Palo Cortado. First, it was the final tasting in the Taberna in its current location, and a chance to say goodbye to a little place that in just two years has been the scene of a lot of really fun nights. (Worry not, they will be back – more news soon.) Second, it was a rare chance to listen to Willy Perez and a very rare chance to taste some of the most exciting and sought after wines in Spain, his Barajuela project.

It wasn’t all about the Barajuelas. One of the things that sets Willy and his family apart is that they are winemakers across the whole spectrum, with a range of reds based around tintilla de rota (include El Triangulo and the classy Tintilla 2013), a new and frankly extremely impressive palomino white wine (el Muelle de Olaso 2016) and even a buzzy, full power modern rosé. We were able to taste all of them and fascinating it was too: particularly the comparison between two tintillas.

But the stars of the show were the Barajuelas. This year’s second saca of the 2013 Fino, a first look at the 2014 Fino, a happy reunion with the absolutely sensational 2013 Oloroso and also a glass of the Raya 2015. Four really top wines and awesome to try them side by side: the comparison between the two finos was stunning and I enjoyed the Raya much more in the company of its brethren. The oloroso in particular showed beautifully – worth the entrance money alone and seeing the glass empty brought a tear to the old eye.

Or rather the star was Willy himself. A really good bloke and obviously highly talented chap whose only faults as far as I can see are his excessive height and unnecessarily luxurious barnet. It was frankly amazing how much knowledge he dropped on us – my notebook is once again full of notes I will never have the time to write up.

All in all a night that will live long in the memory, even if your correspondent, after a brave, silent, night-long battle against the flu, succumbed shortly after midnight and almost certainly missed an even better afterparty …

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