A quick pre-Reyes lunch in the marvellous bistro Media Ración with an absolutely outstanding bacalao al ajorrariero – the best I can remember – and this classic manzanilla from classic Sanlúcar bodega Sanchez Ayala.
Just look at that colour – the lighting may have helped but there are no filters above, just pure liquid gold in the glass. On the nose it is salty sea air and slightly musty esparto grass, with more and more almond coming through the longer it is in the glass (and when the glass is empty). On the palate this is punchier than I recall in the past, with a real zing of salinity first up, then super dry, smokey and toasty almond flavours before a gunpowder salty finish.
Really delicious, and although everyone seems to debate between sweet wines of every kind, the nutty flavours of the last sip went beautifully with the roscón de reyes that my hosts very kindly gave me.
On another note, these wines from Sanchez Ayala have a real personality that previously I had always attributed to the location and techniques in solera, but in a recent chat with the bodega I learned that all the wines are sourced from a single vineyard: las Cañas in Balbaina Alta, a fact which curiously doesn’t feature in the marketing of the wine. Come on guys, don’t be shy, take pride in your roots!
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