Fino Tradicion – May 2013

First had this wine at a really memorable tasting with Bodegas Tradición in Reserva y Cata just over two years ago. Back then only one bottle had been found and I didn’t think I would see another bottle but at a splendid lunch with the chaps from Tradicion lo and behold one was produced (amongst a number of others, I might add).

A very nice wine this – the first saca released by Tradición, of the wine that had originally been acquired to refresh their superb amontillados but which inspired Jose Maria Quiros to suggest that they should start producing finos in their own right. A bit different to the finos that have come afterwards, as the solera was built up and as the wines had less time of static ageing (this one was, after all, originally not part of a solera).

It also wears the signs of those five years in the bottle. First, you can see the variation in colour against the November 2017 below – the 2013 on the left, 2017 on the right.

It looks like it has oxidized and you definitely get some of that in the nose and on the palate. Has an old, stewed apple character to the nose, it is softer around the edges – less sharpness and zing on the palate – and in flavour terms has a lower register – stewed rather than fresh citrus, less fresh bread yeastiness and just a hint of bitter salad at the end.

I guess this wine would have been slightly more aromatic and slightly less full bodied than the others on release, and it is a gentle, mellow thing now – very nice indeed.

 

 

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La Ina de Domecq in Corral de la Moreria

I have only ever been to Corral de la Moreria a handful of times but each time the spectacular wines come thick and fast and it is hard to take it all in.

But this one, from the summer, stood out. A fino with a long time in the bottle, it had a beautiful softness to it – marshmallowy texture – and had lost some of its force, but still had enjoyable apply, nutty flavours and a remarkable clarity and profile.

A class, memorable old fino.

Fino Cruzado Las Botas

One of the highlights of the summer was getting to talk about the marquistas at no less a venue than Er Guerrita – reported in in a cracking post by Carmen Martinez de Artola – and here is a fine example of the marquista breed.

This fino was bottled by the guys at “Las Botas”, Cesar Velazquez and Raul Villabrille, and whereas I was originally told it was from botas selected from the Fino Señorita Irene at Bodegas Francisco Yuste I now gather that it is from Fino Camborio (as I had in fact first thought – since it was the first time I tried it).

Knowing that it is no surprise to find it nicely full bodied and thirst quenching (and at the same time mouth watering) stuff. Said to have an average age of ten years and to be on the crossroads between a fino and an amontillado. Not sure I would go as far as that, but this is near to my sweet spot for finos: enough age and contact with the cabecillas to make it slightly bitter on the nose and buttery in texture and plenty of flavour there. Flavours of almond to toasted almond and a long flavourful and fresh finish.

When we spoke at Der Guerrita one of the issues that came up was the difficulty for the new marquistas – like Las Botas to come up with original marketing propositions and it must be said that their denominations: “fino cruzado”, “manzanilla apartada” etc are a bit harder to understand than the magic numbers, for example.

Nevertheless the important thing is that they have done a good job selecting this – I will look out for the Yuste finos – and if they can sell it as well good luck to them.

Alvear Fino en Rama 2012 in Zalamero Taberna

The way I bang on about the new vintage finos coming out of Jerez you would think they were the pioneers but in fact it is not the case. Looking into this wine I discover that up at Alvear they have been producing single vintage finos since 1998 (a good few years before Williams & Humbert’s finos – at least as far as I know). In fact given the vocal supporters of Montilla Moriles I am surprised this hasn’t been pointed out to me before.

Anyway, you can see I am out of practice because I totally failed to note how long it had been in the bottle. It is obviously not long – five years or less and I would guess no more than four.

A beautiful The youthfulness is there in a bit of citrussy, grapey juiciness, but even so it has an almond nuttiness to it (I often find the almond more marked in px finos), and with the time in bottle (which I am guessing at two years) toasted notes. It is not as zingy as its big brother the Capataz, and in comparison big in the beam rather than fine and slippy, but still a fino in every respect and a fine one too.

So hail to the other place once again, and long live vintage wines!

La Panesa

A lot of stuff on this blog hasn’t aged well – when I started writing it only just over three years ago I was a little bit of a wide eyed novice. Everything was awesome, it was fun to be part of the team and I may not always have been the most discerning.

But there are a few things that have stood the test of time. A thousand or so posts later I can confirm I was dead right about La Panesa. It is pure class and absolutely superb. Savoury and toasty nose, sharply defined and elegant in profile, full in body and rich in flavours, from butter, nuts, curry and spices, with a mouthwatering finish.

A beautiful wine. Fashions come and go, class is permanent.

Lunch with Bodegas Tradicion in Taberna Palo Cortado

It is one thing to have an overdose of gainful employment and a backlog of posts, but it is quite another thing to fail to acknowledge an absolutely cracking lunch like the one I had with the guys from Tradición in Palo Cortado at the end of June.

We kicked off with a “martini” made with Salcombe gin and fino and there were bubbles and a superlative Amontillado to finish, but the stars of the lunch for me were the finos that came in between. First and foremost a bottle of the May 2013 saca of the Tradición fino, a little bottle of the fino bottled for Mugaritz and a magnum of the November 2017.

Really fascinating to see that 2013 again. The only other time I had tried it was at a superb vertical tasting of all the sacas at Reserva y Cata in Madrid in November 2016 and even then I remember the complexity and additional dimension it had. A year and a half longer in the bottle and there was caramel softness to it, and a bitter almond and butter feel to the flavours. Really fascinating and almost enough to make me want to keep a bottle for a few years (if it were not for the ease with which the November 2017 were slipping down). One day I will invest in a cellar that is far enough out of reach to protect the wines from erosion.

For the time being all you can do is give thanks that wines like these are being made year after a year and at such a high level. It certainly makes for a brilliant lunch.

 

Two true Camborios

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).