La Bota de Fino 35 – Jerez – five years later

This was one of the first Equipo Navazos magic numbers that I tried back in the day and I had been hanging on to a bottle for nostalgia’s sake, but some recent experiences with bottle aged finos persuaded me to get stuck into it.

And I am glad I did. It is a top quality fino. In aromatic and mineral terms right up there. The nose in particular was fantastic after opening, and it was a lovely bottle to have open (if not for very long).

But I am also glad I opened it now rather than waitig. There is no doubt that these wines – in particular the finos and manzanillas – evolve with the years and I am far from sure that they improve after the first two or three. Comparisons may be odious but when I compare this to the current, absolutely outstanding release from the same source, I find the new wine to have more pep, more body and more all around pizzazz. The flipside of that is that the wine becomes more elegant, more gentle with years, and the time also seems to result in a change in flavour profile from roasted to slightly burnt, bitter almonds.

So a lovely wine opened just in time. How does it evolve once open? Sadly we will never know.

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La Bota de Fino Amontillado 24 – Montilla – 7 years later

Glory be to Angelita Madrid. Yet another absolutely cracking lunch yesterday with some top wines by the glass and a really special one to finish. A rare old wine and a privilege to taste it – there can’t be many of these bottles still in circulation (there were only 2,600 seven years ago). But how had it stood up to the seven years in the bottle? 

I had high hopes given the provenance (originally Perez Barquero) and the quality of the 2013 release, but by comparison to that wine this seemed to have faded. The acetaldehide hay bales had gone and bitter, bottle age notes seemed to have taken over the nose, and while still zingy and potent on the palate it seemed much less interesting in shape – the bitter almond finish taking over all too soon. 

So, a privilege for which I am very grateful but this one is more evidence for the case against excessive bottle ageing. I still have a bottle of the 45 and will get drinking it based on this. 

Oloroso Valdivia 

Another experiment in bottle ageing thanks to the absolutely remarkable collection of wines on offer at Territorio Era. This is an oloroso from a bodega that is no longer around (although I gather there is a hotel that was the bodega) and the wine itself has been 11 years in the bottle. I don’t know much about the wine itself which makes it hard to judge the effects of the time in the bottle but it certainly shows all the hallmarks. 

As you can see it is a dull amber/brown in colour and a little bit of precipitation in the bottle. A bit of reduction on the nose when first opened which made it hard to judge what else was in there (I turned down the chance to go back at 18:00 and try it again – wonder if there is any left). 

On the palate it was really interesting, a sweet nutty, almost coconut start, a big spike of acidity/alcohol and then a big turn for the bitter, with a lot of bitter almond flavour. Didn’t seem to have held together all that well – came across as somewhat disjointed – and it seemed like the years had pulled the wine in different directions.

Nevertheless, very pleasant and very interesting with all those nut flavours there. Definitely worth a try. 

Amontillado Viejo Hidalgo y Cia

I am really not sure what happened here. I can clearly remember writing a blog post about a very enjoyable lunch with Jens Riis at Angelita and about how this wine was class but a bit long in the glass (it is a bottle from October 2007 which I got from the guys at Vila Vinoteca).  But then when I happened to open the blog this morning the post had gone.

It is not the first time it has happened. Other posts have disappeared in equally mysterious circumstances, and neither is it the most serious: the post about the first time I tried the Encrucijado 2012 is missing without trace and given how unique that wine was, and how much of an eye opener tasting it was, I feel the absence keenly.

It is nevertheless very annoying and also quite curious – when I look at my twitter timeline I see that the now empty link to the blog post has been retweeted numerous times. It is almost as if people retweet based on the picture without reading the post first!

 

 

Amontillado Gran Barquero, from 1996

In Territorio Era they have anything you might like to try, and these days you cannot sell these bottle-aged wines quick enough – the punters lap them up. I am not so sure, and this wine is a  good example of what makes me leary of them.  

The Gran Barquero amontillado is, in my view, one of the great wines, light and supple but structured, punchy and creamy caramel. But this one here has had 21 years in the bottle – and in my mind the first question is where? Label looks like it has had a fair bit of sun, or did they not use green back in the 90s? 

Whatever the reason is, the wine shows its age. A texture that has lost its creaminess and become a little bit dusty, and whereas the modern amontillado is all caramel and toffee this is woody and a touch bitter.  

An old bottle of La Ina


One of the classics, and here in a classic form, a bottle that must be ten years or so old, with the famous name of Domecq across the top. I tried this one at the bar of Territorio Era (a top spot if you want to try bottle aged and other rare sherries).

As you can see, the colour has certainly evolved in that time. It is beautifully clear but has taken on a hue halfway between yellow and orange amber.  On the nose it is nutty and baked applet but just a little bit flat – not a big aromatic profile. Then on the palate it is dry and saline and, again, almond and baked apple flavours, with a bitter finish.

Very interesting – although maybe short on exuberance.

Amontillado Seco Valdivia Dorius (2006)

Another long lost label – this one once of Ruiz Mateos, later absorbed by Garvey, recently acquired itself by Fundador – but David at Territorio Era has somehow got his hands on a few bottles, including this one dated 2006. A middle aged amontillado with a deepish colour, relatively quiet, nutty nose (with a bit of reduction first up that soon blows away), then a palate that is relatively mellow and roasted-nutty with a little bit of bitterness from the time in the bottle.