This was another of some magnificent wines brought by Juancho Asenjo at Territorio Era in its last days for an impromptu but very enjoyable lunch.
In my experience when it comes to cellar dinosaurs I tend to prefer the sweeter wines – the sweetness can take the edge of the extreme bitterness of concentration-, and equally when it comes to sweeter wines I prefer them to have a little bit of devil in them -for the opposite but identical reason. This one certainly has that kind of balance.
It is a very very very old cream sourced from Valdespino and although the guys at Equipo Navazos haven’t published a ficha for this one yet it is a new saca from the botas that also provided Bota 19 and Bota 38.
It has a very attractive red of chestnut color and is just this side of crystal clear, it has a nose of sweet hazelnut, with hints of noble woods and spiced, and then on the palate it has a racy, acidic, burnt caramel and almost bitter spine underneath surprisingly light, fluffy raisin sweetness, ending in a touch of salinity to give it a fresh finish. I am conscious hat might sound a bit of a mashup, but of the creams I have had this would probably be one of the most integrated – nothing bolted on here.
I feel it is a wine that would have repaid some serious study if I had the time – I hope I get another chance with more time to spare.
Another wine from remarkable little Santa Petronila, this time the cream. As readers of this blog will know, with few exceptions creams are not exactly my bag.
I don’t really know a lot about this one so can’t tell you age or blend or the like. What I can tell you is that it is an attractive red in color, perhaps a touch murky (everything is en rama without the slightest filtration), and like the oloroso and the palo cortado has a slightly sharp, acidic character to it. That acidity gives it a nice attack that is less syrupy than many creams on the palate, and although the orangey, sugary fruit catches up with you it too is relatively light in profile, there is just a touch of bitter chocolate flavour that gives it a nice balance and on the whole it is a lot fresher than you might expect.
Not bad at all: we had this with Miguelitos de la Roda in Territorio Era bit I bet it would be cracking with some ham.
The second cata at the Cuatrogatos Wine Fest, lead by the man himself, Federico Ferrer, was short and sweet. At least it was for me: short because I overdid the siesta and rocked up an hour late, and sweet because, well, the wines were sweet, as were the little crumbly pastries we swigged them down with.
The sweet stuff isn’t really my bag but these were not your bog standard sweet sherries by any measure.
- Moscatel Oro “Los Cuartillos” (Primitivo Collantes) was a really cracking start – citrus rich and lush but with nice acidity and a bit of mineral bite, muscle. Nice bit of freshness to it too.
- Pandorga 2014 (Cota 45) is another favourite – a 100% pedro ximenez that is not as other PXs: sweet, tasty with apricot richness but with nice acidity, like a late harvest riesling. Top class.
- Golpe Maestro (Federico Ferrer) – the only wine of the lineup I hadn’t tried and a fascinating beast. A late harvest, sun dried palomino that has been two years in half full barrels. Unlike anything I have tried before – has a curious, herbal sweetness and a funky green bitterness (like bitter salad) to it. Really reminds me of the spicey peppery edge to some manzanillas, but more concentrated and with residual sugar. Need more time alone with this if I can get a bottle.
- Piñero Cream (Juan Piñero) is a 20 year old 75% oloroso, 25% old pedro ximenez blend, with a nutty, woody, slightly bitter, acidic oloroso to balance the raisins of the PX. A tough ask in this company: next to the younger varietals it comes across as slightly less fruitful, elegant and natural
- Pandorga 2015 (Cota 45) is something else altogether. Ramiro Ibañez at Cota 45 believes in expressing the vintage so in a hot year he harvested even later and left the grapes longer in the sun. Added to the fermentation at high ambient temperatures what you get is a nectar with a staggering amount of sugar and only five degrees of alcohol (so low he can’t call it “wine”). All that sugar is balanced with a lovely acidity and intense apricot flavour and the stuff is far, far too easy to drink. No spitting this one!
(This is where I think I am obliged to make some kind of witty remark about the kind of sherry your grandma drinks or something but I can’t be bothered.)
The latest wine from Jerez’s smallest bodega nestled in Pago Macharnudo is this cream – a blend of oloroso and pedro ximenez – sampled by the glass in Territorio Era after dinner.
The photo isn’t great but it is a dark and appetising brown colour – dark raisins with a gold lining – and for a cream it has a striking nose with a lot of volatile acidity (something I also noticed in the oloroso). Not overlong or structured but it has an elegant feel to it – not at all heavy or sticky – and a very nice flavour profile of nuts and raisins, with just a little bit of edge from that acidity.
A very nice tipple once again.
I only mentioned yesterday that there was a cream from Finca Matalian that I hadn’t tried and, a mere hour or two later I was given some with my cheese at Angelita Madrid. A genuine coincidence and a happy one because like many of the Finca Matalian wines this is very easy to drink.
Apparently a blend of 70% oloroso and 30% moscatel, it has a dark, dark brown hue but clear, then the sweet vegetable/stewed tomato notes of the moscatel on the nose. A chutney-like sweetness (that went perfectly with the cheese, of course) on the palate too. Not very acidic or complex in sherry terms but not too heavy or too sweet either, and not at all sticky.
Another balanced, drinkable wine.
This is one of the wines that came too late to catch up with my faculties in the night of the Pitijopos and I really wanted to give it another shot. I have commented before on my predisposition against sweetened, blended wines – maybe a reaction to the sherry I get back home. but I had hopes for this one – it is 75% palomino (an old oloroso), 25% pedro ximenez (old again). It has been aged 15-20 years in botas of american oak.
The colour is a dark, reddish amber, clear but not fully crystalline – a little thick looking. I don’t find it particularly intense in the nose, but there are definite nuts, toffee, citrus, wood, and wood polish/alcohol – the oloroso really makes its presence felt – and maybe just a bit of raisin in the background from the PX.
On the palate there is more raisiny sweetness upfront, some dusty oloroso acidity then a long tail of black treacle/molasses. It reminds me a little of the Matusalem although less acidic, concentrated and astringent around the edges. More balanced, but still maybe a bit sweet for my tastes: the overall effect is black treacle or molasses, with maybe a bit of cedar.
Very nice stuff – would be cracking with a cheesecake.
It is said that sherry was at one time so widely drunk in the UK that it was commonly referred to as “milk”, and that the characters at Harveys blended an oloroso so rich that it became known as the “cream”, creating the category that now dominates the supermarket shelves over here.
In fact a gander at the Wikipedia entry shows a far more complex blended beast – fifty different soleras, three types and two grapes – a typically complex wine, in fact, for a region where nothing is ever straightforward (I am not referring to Bristol).
In colour it is a deep brown – a little dense and not fully crystalline. Then the first noseful is all sweet raisins like a pedro ximenez – a sensation that doesn’t repeat when you go back to it – becomes more sugary treacle and a bit of baked citrus.
On the palate it is again like a (very light) treacle, sticky on the top and sides of the mouth. There is less of the raisins, a bit more burnt sugar and toasted walnut/walnut skin. Nice and long and a sweet, sticky finish.
Overall I find it pleasant and drinkable but a bit lacking in bite – the acidity of the oloroso never seems to really arrive.