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. 

Amontillado Fino Agustin Blazquez 

The second of two very special wines served after an already brilliant tasting with Bodegas Tradición at Taberna Palo Cortado last night, this one was a homage to the star of the evening, Jose Maria Quiros, who had for a time worked at the legendary and now disappeared bodega of Agustin Blazquez. It was very generously opened by Paqui, who had already given up her evening to host us and had laid on the usual delicious tapas – I just wish I had a wine good enough to have reciprocated.

Because this wine was also top drawer. Estimated as being bottled in around 1950, it came from an original wooden case and was wrapped in original straw packaging (you can just see it above). The cork had not survived the passing of the years, or rather had been partaking a bit too heavily, which explains the debris in the glass above, but otherwise the wine came across as as clean as a whistle.

This would have started as an amontillado fino – probably not unlike the older finos that Tradición make today – and has probably gained some colour. As you can see, a lovely clear brown (interesting to me how similar it was in colour to the manzanilla of the same kind of age that we had tried just before). This had just a touch of reduction on the nose and aromas that were a bit more serious, like bitter almonds. Then on the palate again it was still compact and clean in profile. Not a big structure or punch but a little bit of acidity and a nice deep, almond to bitter almond flavour.

This must have been some wine when it was a young’un – and in many ways it still is.





Manzanilla CZ 

I went to a special tasting of singular wines by Bodegas Tradicion last night at Taberna Palo Cortado and after the official program there were some even more exceptional extras. The first was this Manzanilla CZ – the original brand of the Rivero family, current owners of Tradicion – which had no date but based on label and bottle must have been from the 1950s or maybe even earlier (or so the experts concluded last night anyway). It was brought by the massive legend and outstanding cameraman Abel Valdenebro.

Just look at that colour – evolved from a manzanilla, but not as evolved as some en ramas that are currently on sale (naming no names), and so bright and clear. It looks incredibly clean and appetising, and you get the same impression from the nose – slightly sweet of esparto grass, but by no means honeyed or nutty. It has wandered from the path of the manzanilla but I would place it as a manzanilla pasada, although it didn’t have quite the same saline punch as either.

Finally on the palate again clean and fresh, a compact profile with no dustiness. Not a big profile or an exuberant wine and not much structure left but a nice waxiness and an even better range of flavours across the palate, from a slightly sweet of esparto grass start through a warming salinity to only a slightly bitter finish.

This is what is known as growing old gracefully – a beautiful old wine. Many thanks Abel!

Fino Soto 

This has been a fair time in the bottle and it shows, at least at the beginning, with a pretty flat nose and a lot of liquorice on the palate. Improves after a little air and loses those more jarring notes on the nose. Had a serious palate with good salinity – even heat – but still a little too liquorice heavy for my tastes. 

Not really my bag but worth tasting – the bodega has quite a history or so I am told. One of the 105 (!!!!) generosos now available by the glass at Territorio Era