Fino CB 

The second wine from my epic lunch with Alvear last week was the Fino CB, a six year old fino, once again from 100% pedro ximenez, and from wine that did not require fortification. Am realizing that it is a house that venerates its former capatazes and here is another example: it is apparently named after Capataz Villanueva (in the, erm, old Spanish, Billanueva). 

As you can just about see it was a pale straw colour with just a hint of green. A punchy nose with a touch of yeasty bread about it. Was interesting to try it after the Marques de la Sierra, because whereas that wine was leafy and had notes of fennel and anise this one takes it up a notch and has that liquorice root flavour I associate with pedro ximenez finos. Has a slightly richer texture to it. If the Marques was silky this has a bit more velvety, oily body – and a warm, savoury palate and a nicely integrated salinity that is more sapid than saline. 

An underrated and enjoyable fino with its own character. Good old Captain Villanueva! 

Fino Capataz Solera de la Casa 

Although slightly out of order, after yesterday’s terrific lunch in Lua and after looking back at the archive this morning I couldn’t resist writing up my note of this top, top wine. (Not that the notes were much good. Yesterday’s lunch was one of those occasions when the conversation flowed even more emphatically than the wines, and between gulps and mouthfuls we touched on everything from geography, climate, soil types and harvest to branding and positioning, often in the same sentence. Frankly, I had better things to do than take notes.)

So it was confirmed that this is the unshaven version of the Fino Capataz of back in the day – by which I mean it is unfiltered and unclarified (although I remember the original as being pretty dark in hue in any event), and with a total of around 10-12 years of biological ageing.

On the nose this bottle has clear oxidative notes – from whence the nutty nose that I have always associated this wine I suppose – in fact almost fruity but with haybales too, like old apples packed in straw. Aftter the sweet and inviting nose it it impressively dry and punchy on the palate, a really concentrated sapidity and intense flavours, which start solid, then give way to nuts and then minerals, with a bit of a saline sting to the tail.

A really top fino. In fact a top wine in general.

Fino en rama Fernando de Castilla, December 2015

Had another little bottle from late 2015 lately that I really enjoyed so when this appeared from the back of the fridge its days were numbered. 
A very likeable fino this with a nice dark straw colour, a really aromatic, haybale to almost ammonia nose, a pungent palate with a mouth watering start, apple to baked apple flavour and a stinging saline finish. 

Fino Dos Palmas, 2016

Had this during a recent visit to Zaragoza’s sherry temple, Absinthium, and must say it was the perfect aperitif.

A lovely rich gold colour – as you can see it was maybe just a little chilly. Appetising nose with fresh, piercing, salinity and beach grass and almonds in the back ground. Then on the palate it is fatty/creamy in texture, has a nice edge of salinity and again a pleasing, almond flavour to it. Not a very long finish but a fresh one.

Elegant, tasty, and fresh. Lovely stuff.

Tio Pepe en rama, 2017

Other bodegas may have started earlier but noone puts more marketing heft into en ramas than the giant Gonzalez Byass. This was launched in an extravaganza here in Madrid a couple/few weeks ago (your correspondent was not invited) and no doubt around the globe. You have to give them their due. No one can match their distribution and they make full use of it, which must be for the greater good.

Even better, the subject is worth the attention. A very nicely made fino this one. Nice rich colour, green to slightly stewed apples and some haybales and salt on the nose, then a nice fresh almond/apple entry and spicey, salty finish on the palate. 

A top fino and a worthy ambassador. God speed! 

Fino Camborio

Not a great day today.  There were still some laughs (as there always are around David and Diego at Territorio Era) but in general my lunchtime mood was pretty sombre, despite an excellent lunch, the perfect company and this beautiful, full flavoured fino, which is sharp on the edges, zingy at the start and mineral in the finish and has a big, wide palate. Mood restorer indeed!


An old bottle of La Ina

One of the classics, and here in a classic form, a bottle that must be ten years or so old, with the famous name of Domecq across the top. I tried this one at the bar of Territorio Era (a top spot if you want to try bottle aged and other rare sherries).

As you can see, the colour has certainly evolved in that time. It is beautifully clear but has taken on a hue halfway between yellow and orange amber.  On the nose it is nutty and baked applet but just a little bit flat – not a big aromatic profile. Then on the palate it is dry and saline and, again, almond and baked apple flavours, with a bitter finish.

Very interesting – although maybe short on exuberance.