Fino en rama Arroyuelo in Media Ración

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.

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Fino en rama Fernando de Castilla en la Tasquita de Enfrente

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.

Fino la Barajuela 2013 (Saca de 2017) in Media Ración

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.

 

The wines of Emilio Hidalgo in Taberna Verdejo

Absolutely top class dinner last night in Taberna Verdejo featuring a lot of laughter some first class cooking and above all three absolutely classic wines from Emilio Hidalgo.

First, with mussels and rubio (sea robin) in escabeche (and in fact even before the food arrived) we started with La Panesa, which is just a class fino. So much power and body, a really buttery mouthful and a no vibrato purity and solidity of flavours. These bottles were from 2016 and the almond and roast almond flavours just had that suggestion of bitterness before the long long finish.

Then another escabeche, this time a rabbit (another of Verdejo’s strengths, small game) and, having exhausted the supply of La Panesa we moved on to the Amontillado Fino Tresillo. And my goodness what an impact this wine makes – such sharpness and elegance, finer in feel than the fino and a touch of dry honey to the almond flavours – almost hazelnut-, all with that sizzling salinity, which comes across much more clearly in this finer profiled wine. Really lovely, really drinkable wine.

And then with the sweetbreads (oh, the sweetbreads) and rabo de toro (stewed bull’s tail) a glass (or two) of the Gobernador oloroso. Another beautifully made wine – packed with acidity and flavor but with excellent crispness and balance. In fact I was struck by the freshness of it – really clean lines.

All three wines were individually superb but also great company for the solid matter, but the less said about the Rives Special Gin from El Puerto that followed the better …

Fino Capataz Solera de la Casa in Taberna Verdejo

There have been a heap of Montilla Moriles events the last couple of weeks in Madrid – or so it seems from my twitter timeline – and I have managed to miss all of them, so it felt only right to try and make up a bit of missed time at the bar of one my of top happy places in Madrid.

This really is a magnificent, nutty old fino. Gorgeous colour and a nose that is pungent with almonds and haybales. Then a zingy, zippy finish, roasted almonds on the palate turning to bitter almonds and then lasting a looooooong time as the salinity comes back to water the tongue.

Absolutely first class and makes a chap sorry to have missed out on all the fun.

Tio Pepe en Rama 2016 in the Taberna de Pedro

The Taberna de Pedro is a cracking spot to restock on vitamins: tomatoes, asparagus, artichokes, peas, runner beans, green beans, borage, chard, peppers, mange tout, all of the above (menestra), pisto (con dos huevos) – the man is a genius with the green stuff (and if you are short of vitamin C the callos are outstanding).

All cracking sources of nutrition but notoriously tricky pairings, so a nice glass of fino like this one goes down a treat. Topical too – just this week I think they released the new edition of this classic fino.

I haven’t seen that new one yet but this will do. Yeasty, bready and nutty nose, juicy, bity bitter almond palate and a lingering finish.

Very enjoyable.

Fino las Botas

Las Botas is one of the most recent arrivals in the world of the marquistas with some interesting wines including this cracking fino, selected from the Camborio solera.

This one has had a bit of time in the bottle judging by the colour and a suggestion of bitterness on the palate. Nice aromatics – a really mulchy nose of wet haystacks – and a nice sharp zingy start, a savoury, granary bread and bitter almond palate and a long fresh finish.

Cracking stuff – would be interesting to line up some of the different bottlings of Camborio to see how they compare.