Not had the Arroyuelo en Rama in a while but was delighted to break that duck over a spot of lunch. The star fino from Finca Matalian and probably the Southernmost fino in el marco, rather than periodic “sacas” these are bottled to order and this was from January 2017.
As you would imagine given that date it was very very biological – a really pungent nose, sharply zingy salinity (for all those 14 months in the bottle) and a slightly bitter and very spicey, rocket salad palate with a finish that was mouth watering and stinging at the same time.
An absolute belter. Top class fino with a unique personality. It occurred to me how similar it is to the similarly impeccable Solear en Rama from the opposite end of the region. I may be imagining it but must try a side by side.
Had a cracking lunch in “El del Medio” this weekend. Not a sherry destination by a long way – just two on the list – and they seem to view sherry as an aperitif, with just this and the Macarena on the list, but the food was high quality and high fun and this is a terrific fino with lots of personality.
Has that aroma of rockpools that for me really characterizes the finos del puerto: not super aromatic but a punchy noseful. Then has a heavy saline body, plenty of juice and a really fresh finish.
Perfectly decent stuff and went beautifully with artichokes and scallops. The job, as they say, is a good one.
Maybe not quite a sherry temple here but I was pleasantly surprised by the list at trendy Madrid eatery Fismuler the other night. The five wines above may not be many in number but they are right up my alley: a quality manzanilla from Delgado Zuleta, the excellent fino del puerto by Gutierrez Colosía, the serially and seriously under-rated Fossi by Primitivo Collantes and a heavyweight palo cortado and amontillado by Williams & Humbert.
And the list didn’t stop there. There was some cracking stuff further down – from el marco Viña Matalian and Tintillas by Vara y Pulgar and Bodegas Forlong – and in general some really good independent winemakers represented all the way down: Clos Lentiscus, Barco de la Corneta, Bodegas Fuentegalana and Ziries, to name just the few we drank.
A quality, well priced and well chosen list. And the food was tasty and the atmosphere lively – no complaints and I will be back for the rest.
As good a start to a meal as anyone needs, an aromatic, punchy and juicy fino. This bottle was from June 2017 and still had plenty of apple on the nose and baked apple in the palate, wrapped up in that haybale aromatic and salty volume and zing. Brilliant little bottle.
It must seem as if I am obsessed with these wines – it has got to the point where my blogging colleagues gently pull my leg about it on social media. Of course there is an element of truth in that, but in my defense I am also in a virtuous loop in which the places I go to tend to stock them, the sommeliers I know are aware of my interest and it is so hard to say no when they are offered.
In fact at one point I did start saying no, on the basis that if I drank all the wine on offer it would defeat the object of writing about them (one establishment told me they had been sent two bottles of one vintage, of which I had accounted for 75%) since noone else would be able to drink them anyway.
And to be honest I am a little mystified as to why more people have not done so. As I have mentioned before on here I find these wines fantastic: top notes, bottom notes, body, concentration, shape, salinity, the full package. Neither do I believe I am alone in this: every time I have shared a bottle with friends from outside my bubble they have loved it (even Mrs Undertheflor enjoys a glass or two) and better judges than I seem to share my enthusiasm.
Anyway, I reckon I have allowed you all a fair crack so be warned: my admirable self restraint, and with it your chance to enjoy these wines, is coming to an end.
In Jerez old is now the new new. Just missed out in the unveiling of this in Madrid this week. A newly relaunched vermouth under an old Barbadillo brand resurrected in 2017 after 40 odd years.
As I say, I missed the unveiling, and indeed I only made it to La Fisna before closing by the skin of my teeth and as a result have next to no actual information, other than that it is an old recipe with a manzanilla base and an amped up dosage of quinine.
The resulting potion is powerful stuff and not at all what springs to mind when someone says “vermouth”. The manzanilla base is dry as dry can be and there is no hint of sweetness. For me it is more reminiscent of an amaro, with burnt caramel bitterness, but saline. (You get the feeling that a martini made with this would be filthy rather than dirty.)
Serious, grown up, drinking.
Bodegas Forlong are a bit of a dark horse – not much spoken of but quietly trotting along making lovely wines with subtly different but still imaginative approaches. As a result anyone wanting to know what can be done with palomino fino, in particular, could do worse than buying up their range.
This is one of the most recent additions to the stable and one of my favourites. In fairness this bottle had been opened a while but I wanted an esteemed visiting colleague to try it and Taberna Palo Cortado didn’t let me down.
Maybe because of that time open it seemed to me to have lost some of its aromatic delightfulness but the aromas of sweet apple pie were still there. I remember this being a little short in body but this time it seemed to have a bit more oomph, compact and saline.
Am convinced it will be terrific after a few months in the bottle (but in my house it wouldn’t have that luxury).