Fino la Barajuela 2013 (Part II) and 2014: Another tale of two “finos”

This was one of the absolute highlights of an unforgettable Wednesday night at Taberna Palo Cortado. Two absolutely exceptional wines, from the same vineyard, by the same hand and in the same style but different years, and what a difference a year makes. 

First, both have a superb balance of concentrated white fruit and honeysuckle top and savoury bottom but the 2014 (which as far as I know was not an exceptionally warm summer) seems to have even more mass behind it than the 2013 did – a really epic punch of flavour. 

Second, while the 2014 still has a fruitful richness to it, the additional year under flor seems to have pushed the 2013 over the boundary into the sharper, dryer, more elegant world of the fino. It is still an exceptionally full bodied fino by today’s standards, but next to it’s little brother it comes across as a touch reserved. 

I am trying to be balanced here but I obviously like the 2014 best. They are both great wines though, and the kind of wine that any wine lover would enjoy. 


La Bota de Fino 35 – Jerez – five years later

This was one of the first Equipo Navazos magic numbers that I tried back in the day and I had been hanging on to a bottle for nostalgia’s sake, but some recent experiences with bottle aged finos persuaded me to get stuck into it.

And I am glad I did. It is a top quality fino. In aromatic and mineral terms right up there. The nose in particular was fantastic after opening, and it was a lovely bottle to have open (if not for very long).

But I am also glad I opened it now rather than waitig. There is no doubt that these wines – in particular the finos and manzanillas – evolve with the years and I am far from sure that they improve after the first two or three. Comparisons may be odious but when I compare this to the current, absolutely outstanding release from the same source, I find the new wine to have more pep, more body and more all around pizzazz. The flipside of that is that the wine becomes more elegant, more gentle with years, and the time also seems to result in a change in flavour profile from roasted to slightly burnt, bitter almonds.

So a lovely wine opened just in time. How does it evolve once open? Sadly we will never know.

Fino Collecion Añadas 2009, saca de febrero 2017

The Williams Coleccion Añadas were a revelation when they came out last year and although the second saca hasn’t had as much fanfare, for me it may be even better.

It still has the rich colour, the nose of sweet hazelnut (my colleague called tiramisu today which was a great shout) and the salty, nutty potency on the palate, but this to me seems finer and more elegant than the 2016. In particular the finish seems sharper and fresher. 

A lovely wine that is rich and fine at the same time. 

La Bota de Fino Amontillado 24 – Montilla – 7 years later

Glory be to Angelita Madrid. Yet another absolutely cracking lunch yesterday with some top wines by the glass and a really special one to finish. A rare old wine and a privilege to taste it – there can’t be many of these bottles still in circulation (there were only 2,600 seven years ago). But how had it stood up to the seven years in the bottle? 

I had high hopes given the provenance (originally Perez Barquero) and the quality of the 2013 release, but by comparison to that wine this seemed to have faded. The acetaldehide hay bales had gone and bitter, bottle age notes seemed to have taken over the nose, and while still zingy and potent on the palate it seemed much less interesting in shape – the bitter almond finish taking over all too soon. 

So, a privilege for which I am very grateful but this one is more evidence for the case against excessive bottle ageing. I still have a bottle of the 45 and will get drinking it based on this. 

Fino en rama Camborio

Circumstances, never to be trusted at the best of times, have been conspiring against the author somewhat this week and it was with a black mood and dark thoughts that I dragged my feet down to Territorio Era today. 

In keeping with the mindset this is one of your more serious finos – a magnificent old wine – and this new release en rama and in magnum is absolutely magnificent. 

The colour is a rich dark straw – definitely a half shade darker than the classic Camborio. On nose it has a first flush of yeasty sea air but underneath a big dose of over roasted almond. Then on the palate it is searingly zingy – a really sensational salinity – followed by that intense but subtle savoury almond flavour, tailing off to a long, hot, salt and pepper finish. 

Absolutley magnificent – I am really struggling to stay in a bad mood. 

The River Oyster Bar, Miami 

After a couple of weeks travelling around the United States arriving in Miami almost seemed like a homecoming – Spanish being spoken all around and cafe con leche available. And after a few weeks of precious little to write about in the sherry stakes on my last night in the United States I happened across a really nice little list with only five sherries (ok, four sherries and one Montilla Moriles) it is true, but five nice wines and one in particular – the Hidalgo “export” fino – that I could not resist. It really hit the spot – and even came with a couple of little chicharones. 

It was just one highlight of an excellent wine list in fact, with wines from all over the world thoughtfully artanged by style. I took advantage and followed up with an excellent bottle of California bubbles – a 2014 Schramsberg blanc de blancs, which in turn helped wash down some brilliant local snapper and grouper. The service too was top class – unflappable and friendly in the face of a severe test – and I am only sorry I couldn’t stop longer and explore the list more. 

Most enjoyable and a nice little surprise at the end of a fun trip. If you are in Miami look out the River Oyster Bar – a cracking spot. 

Fino la Barajuela 2013 – Saca de 2017 

Home after a month of vacation and what a welcome this is in Territorio Era. A second saca of the great Barajuela fino of 2013 which seems even bigger, even more fruitful and powerful than the first.

A rich oldish gold colour and an equally rich, honeyed nose with just a hint of undergrowth: mature apples packed in straw. On the palate it is just epic – that lovely fruit first up, then an explosion of zingy mineral power and flavour, fading to a long, long, mouthwatering finish with a cracking combination of mineral sizzle and concentrated fruit.

Absolute class. There is no place like home.