A glass of Camborio is always welcome, and getting your hands on two special bottles in quick succession is fortune indeed. It helps if you hang around in the right places (and el Corral de la Moreria is, for the record, the right place).
Here we have a Fino Camborio from the 1970s when the solera was owned by Terry, one of a series of superb older wines that we had at dinner before the summer. Hard to know how the fino made back then would have compared to the modern versions – there have been a few changes since then – but although the forty years or so in the bottle had taken away the fierce zing, softened it around the edges and thinned it out a little, to me it seemed familiar, and the aromas and flavours of yeast, roasted, bitter almonds and salt and pepper were all there. A classic old fino ageing gracefully.
Maybe not a fair comparison but only a day or so earlier and in the same select spot I was able to tuck into probably my favourite iteration of this great wine (so far): the en rama bottling of May 2017. The same rich colour and those same flavours but much more expressive in the aromatics of the nose, in the impact of the salinity, the intensity of the flavour and the length and sizzle of the salt and pepper finish.
Two lovely wines and a fascinating comparison (and call me ageist if you like, but give me the modern classic any day of the week).
Not my first glass of this or even my second but the first one I have had time to savour and write about. An old school, older fino from Balbaina Alta with a bit south of 10 years under the flor.
I first tried it back in February at the Cuatrogatos Wine Fest where it was a touch overshadowed by its magnificent big brothers the Oloroso and Moscatel but this is a class wine in its own right.
The colour is a beautiful, appetising rich old gold that puts you in mind of oxidation. The nose is also cracking: haystacks and rich roasted almonds, a really savoury nose. Then on the palate you get that classic combination of zingy salinity and roasted to bitter almond – a deep savoury flavour turning bitter at the end before a sizzling saline finish.
Really tasty, classy fino (and you can try it yourself at the bar of Angelita).
These were very generously sent to me by Lustau but be not afraid: this largesse will not affect the low standards of professionalism and objectivity for which the blog is barely known.
It is a terrific gift to receive. The 3 en rama set is a great idea by Lustau: three selected en rama wines from each of the three centres of el marco: Sanlucar (manzanilla), Jerez de la Frontera (Fino), and El Puerto de Santa Maria (Fino del Puerto). The wines are distinct and, in my limited experience, a good introduction to the characteristics of biological wines from the three centres.
The Manzanilla de Sanlucar de Barremeda is all fresh green slightly salty apples on the nose and the start of the palate, a nice bite of zing then again a fresh, apply finish. Very inviting indeed.
The Fino de Jerez de la Frontera is slightly more serious, more tangy vegetable than apple and a more intense, peppery zing. It seems to have more metals in the minerals more weight and a metallic tang on the finish.
The Fino del Puerto de Santa Maria is my favourite every year and yet again it stands out. It has a brilliant nose of sweet rockpools and is as complex on the palate – with sweet and herbal touches and a zingy, fresh finish. Really a top, top class fino.
It’s nice to discover new places and it’s nice to run into old friends, so you can’t argue with running into old friends in new places. These two wines – which I was able to enjoy yesterday at El Escaparate – are definitely old friends.
I first came across the 2016 sacas of these released as part of the Colección Añadas – in fact they were among the first añada (vintage specific) wines that I had tried.
The two have a lot in common: from the same palomino in the same vineyards in Añina and Carrascal (Jerez), aged for the same eight years in botas of american oak of 500 and 600L before the saca in April this year. The difference is that the fino was fortified to 15º after fermentation, allowing it to develop flor, whereas the oloroso was fortified to 18º and allowed to age “traditionally”. It makes for a great opportunity to compare and contrast the effects of the biological and oxidative ageing.
It is also really interesting to contrast the various sacas. The first saca was in february 2016 and there have been two or three before this one in April 2017, and it has been interesting to see how the fino, in particular, has changed over time.
It was always a rich, juicy fino with a touch of oxidation, but this one for me has gone over the top from fino to amontillado, with slightly less sharpness and caramel complementing the hazelnuts that, foe me, characterized this vintage. Just look at the colour of it for a start: it is barely distinguishable from the oloroso.
The oloroso too has changed: it always had a spirity, volatile heavy hazelnut nose but this one seems a little quieter by comparison – but maybe the bottle had been open a while, or maybe it was just the change in the fino that made them closer in character.
Two lovely wines, and absolutely perfect with the various delicious meats on offer at El Escaparate (they certainly did the job with Higinio’s finest breasts of Barbary duck and wood pigeon).
Lunchtime in Media Ración and no better way to start than a glass of Tradición Fino. Any time I drink this it always takes me back to a memorable, unforgettable vertical in Reserva y Cata (already three sacas ago – none of which I have blogged about until now) and the overwhelming impression is of a series of wines that just gets better and better.
This is one of the top wines in the older fino bracket and has the big bones and solidity that 12 years under flor will create, but as with other wines from Tradición what sets it apart is not so much how old it is but how youthful it seems for its age. In color it is a rich gold, but nowhere near as dark as some younger wines, and while not as aromatic as some finos it has an impressively compact, clean profile to the nose. On the palate too, you get a good dose of roasted almond, particularly in these November sacas, but also fresh citrus notes (and a slight gooseberry bitterness). You have the impression that it is a wine that will age very impressively in the bottle (if it ever gets the chance).
A high quality fino, from a line of high quality finos. Must find myself those two missing sacas!
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.
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.