Here we go again with one of my very favourite wines (of which I recently enjoyed a glass in one of my very favourite places).
Fino la Barajuela is, depending on your point of view, the white wine of finos, or the fino of white wines. The semantics should be irrelevant, because what matters is the liquid genius of it: big and powerful with a lovely aromatic profile, mineral sharpness up front and salinity in the finish to keep it fresh despite the weight in between. And that in between is quite something: a big mouthful heavy in texture (a natural, unenhanced 15% + here) and a flavour profile from honeysuckle to honey and citrus to savoury stewed herbs that fill out the throat.
It all makes for a wine that is a massive, massive legend but light on its feet and easy to drink, and for all that it is at the cutting edge in terms of the new Jerez, it is immediately recognizable to wine drinkers from across the spectrum. In fact, perhaps ironically, it is almost more widely accepted outside the sherry world than it is within. In the sherry world you get the feeling it is seen as an awkward upstart that doesn’t fit in any of the established categories, – an ugly duckling -, whereas like the eponymous juvenile aquatic bird, the reality is quite magnificent.
Bit of blog history here – the other day I posted my 1,000th post and tonight I happened across (and finished) this bottle in my sister’s fridge.
Lovely drop of sherry as always – nice bit of nutty almond to it – but it was only afterwards that I realized that this is the very same bottle I started 1,000 posts ago.
I didn’t notice much difference after nearly four years – maybe a bit more fruity – will have to get her another bottle even if I am the only one who drinks it.
Took me far too long to get to Taberneros – the very first time I posted my list of restaurants for sherry lovers I was told I should go there and it ended up taking me over three years – shocking really. When I finally did duck my head in last week there were friendly smiles all round, an entire cocido was miraculously found despite the late hour and, even more miraculously, while I stepped outside to take a call three bottles of a fine old fino appeared on the bar. To be precise, three bottles of Fino San Patricio – the famous Garvey marque – from 1977, 1972 and 1967, respectively.
As a result a fella found himself under an obligation to pay a bit more attention than has lately been the custom, and found himself enjoying the experience all the more as a result. Nothing in it really color wise – and no surprise if you think you are drinking wines that are 41, 46 and 51 years in the bottle – but some quite telling differences on the nozzle and in particular on the palate.
The 1977 was piercing and saline on the nose, any hay bales appeared to have faded to sea air and brackish sea weed, the 1972 was a little bit closed and whiffy while the 1967 had a really intriguing nose of salty bacon flavoured crisps (frazzles) with a background of a little bit of ginger. Then on the palate the 1977 was intriguingly the least substantial of the three – vertical, bitter but fresh, the 1972 had that same profile with just an ounce more oomph and pungency but the 1967 seemed to have gone a little over the top, a much softer, mushier profile and clear signs of oxidation in the wine.
Very interesting and a real treat. I am by no means a fan of these older bottles but there is no denying how interesting the comparisons can be. The cocido, though, was even better. I will be back!
Lunch yesterday at the Tasquita de Enfrente today and no better way to start than a glass of the house fino, an absolute belter from Tradicion. From the second saca of 2017 this was absolutely glorious: citrus sweet farmyard nose, yeasty, roast apple on the palate, a shimmer of salinity on the front and back.
Really delicious, mouth watering stuff: an aperitivo with attitude.
One of the wonderful old wines given to me by Valerio Carrera, the man in charge of the superb wines at A’Barra.
I really like these old finos, their fine profile only seems to get more elegant with time, while they have enough flavour to survive the passing of the years. This one started a touch closed but then opened and had sapidity and bite, nutty flavours with a bitter under edge, and sharp salinity all the way through – fresh start and finish that just added to the impression of a wine that is far easier to drink than it is to find.
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.
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.