La Ina de Domecq in Corral de la Moreria

I have only ever been to Corral de la Moreria a handful of times but each time the spectacular wines come thick and fast and it is hard to take it all in.

But this one, from the summer, stood out. A fino with a long time in the bottle, it had a beautiful softness to it – marshmallowy texture – and had lost some of its force, but still had enjoyable apply, nutty flavours and a remarkable clarity and profile.

A class, memorable old fino.

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Manzanilla de Añada 2012 – 4/11

It is amazing to think how the world has changed in only a few years. In 2012 when the Blanco brothers and Ramiro Ibañez decided to put aside 11 botas of palomino after a bumper harvest at Callejuela there were very few “añada” wines knocking around – at least of this kind – and very few vineyard specific wines too. In fact I can still remember the excitement of waiting for that first bota to be bottled.

Nowadays there are a few more añada wines, and little by little you see more mentions of vineyards on labels, to the point where this little series has to share the limelight.

But the beauty of these wines is that they are not just from a specific vintage and place: they are eleven botas from a vintage and place that emerge year by year and show perfectly what that time in the bota can do.

This, the 4th bota to be bottled, has had nearly six years of static ageing and is an absolute beauty of a manzanilla. A rich nose of haybales and a hint of old apples, a sharp saline start, raw almonds with a suggestion of fruity oxidation on the palate and then that fresh, mouth-watering finish.

An absolute gem and I wish I had more of it. Roll on number 5!

La Bota 34 down the years

Ok only the last three years, but still …

After writing a post yesterday about this gem of a wine by Equipo Navazos I was intrigued to see if the changes I imagined I remembered had any basis in fact. Now I can only read the notes, and it all sounds as I remembered it, but I realized there was one quality that was there before my very eyes: the colour.

And hey presto, due to the miracle of photography you have a collage of images from this very blog from August 2015 (at the top) to November 2018 (at the bottom) and I reckon the evidence is in my favour on this one – a definite yellowing/browning going on over time.

So you never know, there is a chance I am not imagining the other stuff. Comforting thought!

La Bota 34 de Palo Cortado – “Pata de Gallina”

A touch of controversy these days if you dare to accuse anyone of “bota hunting” but if wines like this are the result you won’t find me questioning the process. In fact this wine is a great example of how the “bota hunters” do more than repackage the wine of others.

This is from the same solera that produces Lustau’s marvellous Pata de Gallina oloroso by almacenista Juan Garcia Jarana but while that wine is rich and juicy, fat on the palate (and one of the best value wines around) this has that potent flavour in a much finer, more elegant profile.

In fact it is an extraordinary wine. It was the wine that really made me sit up and take notice of the wines of Jerez back in the day and although it has changed over time (it was bottled back in February 2012) it is still quite superb.

While it used to be a vibrant red it is increasingly fading to amber brown. The nose is still a touch sweet with orange and ginger, but I feel has a little bit more bitter wood than I remember. On the palate it starts sharp and zingy, then aromatic and rich in flavour – again whereas I remember caramel this has a touch of bitter mahogany, black chocolate, and tobacco. And it lasts forever – lovely finish.

Beautiful wine. Congratulations to all concerned!

Clos Madrid

A really fantastic lunch today in Clos Madrid, just outstanding. A menu (the “Closicos”) that was just superb from start to finish, flavourful, elegant, superbly executed and fun, from the callos-infused egg yolk at the start to the “find the lady” style petit fours. Lick the plate stuff all the way through, impeccably judged quantities, and superb tempo of service.

And some cracking wines to wash it down, starting with the pure class of the Maruja Manzanilla Pasada and including some really delightful wines and pairings. And readers of this blog need not have any worries about access to top sherries: 19 top wines from El Marco on the list by the glass and bottle, including some absolute gems.

Really brilliant: even a shirker like me feels obliged to write a post!

Fino Cruzado Las Botas

One of the highlights of the summer was getting to talk about the marquistas at no less a venue than Er Guerrita – reported in in a cracking post by Carmen Martinez de Artola – and here is a fine example of the marquista breed.

This fino was bottled by the guys at “Las Botas”, Cesar Velazquez and Raul Villabrille, and whereas I was originally told it was from botas selected from the Fino Señorita Irene at Bodegas Francisco Yuste I now gather that it is from Fino Camborio (as I had in fact first thought – since it was the first time I tried it).

Knowing that it is no surprise to find it nicely full bodied and thirst quenching (and at the same time mouth watering) stuff. Said to have an average age of ten years and to be on the crossroads between a fino and an amontillado. Not sure I would go as far as that, but this is near to my sweet spot for finos: enough age and contact with the cabecillas to make it slightly bitter on the nose and buttery in texture and plenty of flavour there. Flavours of almond to toasted almond and a long flavourful and fresh finish.

When we spoke at Der Guerrita one of the issues that came up was the difficulty for the new marquistas – like Las Botas to come up with original marketing propositions and it must be said that their denominations: “fino cruzado”, “manzanilla apartada” etc are a bit harder to understand than the magic numbers, for example.

Nevertheless the important thing is that they have done a good job selecting this – I will look out for the Yuste finos – and if they can sell it as well good luck to them.

De Jereces y marquistas: polisemia vinosa

Had to share the link to this cracking piece by Carmen Martinez de Artola (and not just because she refers to me in it as “el Guerrero”) of the tasting I was lucky enough to take part in this summer at Der Guerrita.

Really top summary of the (better) wines we drank on the day (or in my case, spat out, unfortunately) but above all I love the introduction – why worry what we call them if the wines are good?

Nice piece – in Spanish and another good reason to learn the language kids!