La Bota 68 de Fino – Macharnudo Alto

This is the fino from Macharnudo Alto by Equipo Navazos that is a near relation of the all time classic Inocente by Valdespino and a comparison of the two – particularly if you could get a bottling of Inocente from the same date – would be very interesting.

Every time I try this wine I am reminded of the tremendous impact it had on me when I first tried it in January 2017 – it had such amazing zip and pizzazz and seemed to jump out of the glass at me. Since then I have found that it mellowed in July 2017, was hanging on in November 2017 and this time, in February 2019 had become fine and mellow to an extent that was unrecognizable from its original vigour. (It had also changed color noticeably, something I also noted in November 2017.

Of course the three later bottles might not have been stored in identical circumstances, the latter ones may even have been open a few days and these are living wines – you can never guarantee that they age the same way. But despite that all my experiences tend to point me to the conclusion that the explosive aromatics and flavour profile when first released – when you could accurately have described this wine as Inocente on steroids – are not sustained over the years in the bottle. In fact you get the impression that the wine is almost exhausted by all that early exertion – something I have never come across in an Inocente. (I will have to search one out with a December 2016 bottling to see if I am right.)

This wine is still a lovely drop: sweet, floral and herbal nose, soft palate with yeast, nuts and bitter almonds, and a fresh, mouth watering finish. But it is hard not to hanker after that younger, more effervescent incarnation.

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Finos San Patricio in Taberneros

Took me far too long to get to Taberneros – the very first time I posted my list of restaurants for sherry lovers I was told I should go there and it ended up taking me over three years – shocking really. When I finally did duck my head in last week there were friendly smiles all round, an entire cocido was miraculously found despite the late hour and, even more miraculously, while I stepped outside to take a call three bottles of a fine old fino appeared on the bar. To be precise, three bottles of Fino San Patricio – the famous Garvey marque – from 1977, 1972 and 1967, respectively.

As a result a fella found himself under an obligation to pay a bit more attention than has lately been the custom, and found himself enjoying the experience all the more as a result. Nothing in it really color wise – and no surprise if you think you are drinking wines that are 41, 46 and 51 years in the bottle – but some quite telling differences on the nozzle and in particular on the palate.

The 1977 was piercing and saline on the nose, any hay bales appeared to have faded to sea air and brackish sea weed, the 1972 was a little bit closed and whiffy while the 1967 had a really intriguing nose of salty bacon flavoured crisps (frazzles) with a background of a little bit of ginger. Then on the palate the 1977 was intriguingly the least substantial of the three – vertical, bitter but fresh, the 1972 had that same profile with just an ounce more oomph and pungency but the 1967 seemed to have gone a little over the top, a much softer, mushier profile and clear signs of oxidation in the wine.

Very interesting and a real treat. I am by no means a fan of these older bottles but there is no denying how interesting the comparisons can be. The cocido, though, was even better. I will be back!

Bull Fight Sparkling Wine, by Manuel Gil Luque in Angelita Madrid

There are so many reasons to go to Angelita Madrid, and one of them is the chance to try your hand at blind tasting. I would challenge anyone, however, to identify this thing blind – was dark in color and had the pine resin aroma I associate with some old pxs, but a touch watery on the palate and a bit of burnt barrel in flavour – like the old burnt bread “tea” sailors apparently used to drink. I was thinking some kind of medium but it turned out to be an ancient sparkler of all things.

Once I saw the bottle I was only more curious. Cracking name – “Bull-Fight” – and it is by a bodega I had never heard of, Manuel Gil Luque, which the magic of internet informs me has been around as a brand since 1912. No sign of any new wines and certainly not much Bull Fight currently on sale. If anyone does have any information would be very interesting to hear from them.

Fino Macharnudo de Romate

One of the wonderful old wines given to me by Valerio Carrera, the man in charge of the superb wines at A’Barra.

I really like these old finos, their fine profile only seems to get more elegant with time, while they have enough flavour to survive the passing of the years. This one started a touch closed but then opened and had sapidity and bite, nutty flavours with a bitter under edge, and sharp salinity all the way through – fresh start and finish that just added to the impression of a wine that is far easier to drink than it is to find.

 

 

Fino Tradicion – May 2013

First had this wine at a really memorable tasting with Bodegas Tradición in Reserva y Cata just over two years ago. Back then only one bottle had been found and I didn’t think I would see another bottle but at a splendid lunch with the chaps from Tradicion lo and behold one was produced (amongst a number of others, I might add).

A very nice wine this – the first saca released by Tradición, of the wine that had originally been acquired to refresh their superb amontillados but which inspired Jose Maria Quiros to suggest that they should start producing finos in their own right. A bit different to the finos that have come afterwards, as the solera was built up and as the wines had less time of static ageing (this one was, after all, originally not part of a solera).

It also wears the signs of those five years in the bottle. First, you can see the variation in colour against the November 2017 below – the 2013 on the left, 2017 on the right.

It looks like it has oxidized and you definitely get some of that in the nose and on the palate. Has an old, stewed apple character to the nose, it is softer around the edges – less sharpness and zing on the palate – and in flavour terms has a lower register – stewed rather than fresh citrus, less fresh bread yeastiness and just a hint of bitter salad at the end.

I guess this wine would have been slightly more aromatic and slightly less full bodied than the others on release, and it is a gentle, mellow thing now – very nice indeed.

 

 

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.

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!