Just back from a cracking long weekend of autumn sunshine in the countryside which I enjoyed immensely. The only downside was that my rural wanderings meant missing out on the first tasting at the new premises of Taberna Palo Cortado (now to be found uptown in Calle Espronceda). And not just any tasting, either, but a tasting by the Blanco brothers, the genial owners of Callejuela, one of the most exciting of the “new” bodegas in Sanlúcar, and the source of one of my favourite little projects, the Manzanilla de Añada 2012.
Luckily, consolation was at hand in the form of little bottles of the aforementioned liquid – from the first, second and third botas – and given the circumstances it seemed appropriate to get them open and have another look at them.
Never one for half measures I duly opened all three but before getting into the inevitable comparisons I wanted to write a little bit about this, the first of them. It was and is a special little wine. It was the first “manzanilla de añada” that I ever tried, and it was the first wine to make me think about whether more flor is always better. Whereas now we seem surrounded by “añada” wines and unfortified palominos with a few months under flor, at the time this was something completely new and, to an extent, revolutionary. Indeed I remember opening a bottle of this on the first night of the Pitijopos and as I explained the concept – single vineyard, single vintage, static ageing, a collection of eleven botas – there was even a round of applause.
And I am glad to say the wine is holding up very well indeed. Still lush and wine-like, polished and compact. Thinking back to when it was fresh you would say the fruit had gone down the mountain a bit in the last couple of years – from blossom to something more herbal – and it feels slightly broader on the beam, with more of the liquorice root that I have come to associate with Callejuela. Still a very enjoyable drop.
Long live the Blanco brothers!