One of my favourite examples of one of my favourite styles of wine. From Juan Piñero in Sanlucar this is one of the older, more intense manzanilla pasadas around. In fact at a recent dinner I had the chance to try it against some other top examples and it blew them away (a great example of the advantage of opening several bottles at once, as if any excuse were needed).
It is a rich colour and has intense yeast, spice and herb aromas. Then on the palate searing, zingy salinity and savoury, spicey flavour, with just a hint of ftuitlike sweetness, like potatoes in a rich spicey tomato sauce. Hint of curry to it in fact. Then a finish that still sizzles.
Just what I needed after a tough day. A beautiful wine.
Lunch in Territorio Era and the chance to try yet another new wine from el Marco. This time, “La Bien Pagá”, a manzanilla pasada en rama from a single bota selected by the splendidly monikered “Hijos de la Albariza” (sons of the Albariza, a group made up of Juan Echanove, Pedro Hernandez and Xavi Saludes, founder of Vinoteca Tierra) from the solera of Goya XL at Delgado Zuleta (and named, I assume, for a classic song by copla legend Miguel de Molina).
Nice dark straw colour to it with just a hint of green maybe, and a subtle nose: not big haybales or roast almonds but aromas of sear air and the eponymous chamomile tea (manzanilla in Spanish), just a suggestion of sweetness. Then elegantly punchy on the palate – nice sharp, integrated salinity first up, then yeasty flavour with again a herbal tea-like sweetness, not quite the false fruit of some manzanilla pasada but not dry. That slight sweetness also hangs around into the finish, which isn’t excessively long but is fresh and pleasant.
A subtle, elegant and enjoyable manzanilla pasada. Not many bottles of this one around (I say that far too often) and worth looking for.
Happy families because these two wines come from vaguely the same soleras – I say vaguely because while the La Guita en rama was apparently bottled from botas selected from the solera used to produce La Guita and has an average age of four and a half years, the Manzanilla Pasada, while sourced from the same bodega, is a selection from two very special botas in a very special room.
In any event, the family resemblance is very clear, and once again the comparison between the two is very revealing. As you can see the manzanilla pasada is only slightly darker in colour than the manzanilla, and on the nose I would say it is a little more muted, with less haybales. But whereas the manzanilla en rama comes across as jauntily characterful – a combination of citrus, chalky mineral and herbs – the manzanilla pasada seems to have the same elements but in a profile that is both more compact and richer, more harmonious, and with an added savoury, toasted flavour. Perhaps doesn’t have the sharp saline opening and finish of its younger sibling but it is beautifully elegant nonetheless.
Really top class wines the pair of them.
I read somewhere on twitter that a magnum is the ideal size for two people, provided that one isn’t drinking, and in the case of this wine at least I fully agree (my apologies for not giving the source but I didn’t take note and often get these things wrong). The guys at Coalla Gourmet had this as their wine of the week recently so I did the prudent thing and picked up a brace (you never know when a friend may pop round).
I wrote about this wine as recently as November but to be honest it is one that is so good it bears repeating. It is the latest in a long line of excellent manzanilla pasadas drawn by the guys at Equipo Navazos from the solera that also houses La Guita – and having got to know the La Guita en Rama (note to self: must be time for a new saca) there is a clear family resemblance. But whereas the en rama is chalky and delicate with a citrus influence this has a much more robust character. Sharp, zingy minerals there but also richer fruit, more in the line of roasted apple. It also has the lovely rich texture of these older biological wines. (And this is old alright: they estimate that it has been an average of 13 years in the making.)
Really a fantastic wine, I vote for a release of double magnums!
An absolute masterpiece. Of all the high quality wines that Equipo Navazos have released, I think the releases I have most enjoyed (with maybe one exception) are the “noughty” manzanilla pasadas. They have released wines from this one solera as Botas 10, 20, 40, 50, 60 and 70 and the ones I have tried (40, 50, 60 and 70, and no more than a glass of 20) have been absolutely outstanding wines.
You can read all about this one on the excellent ficha on the web and it is not the first time I have had it. In my experience, each new bottle I have tried (see here for bottle one and here for bottle two) seems to be more aromatic, silky and intense. As you can see, it has a beautiful deep rich gold colour. On the nose there are sweet herbs and esparto grass (the stuff they sole your espadrilles with) and then on the palate it is a bomb of flavour and buttery salinity.
Elegance personified – lovely stuff.
I first came across Equipo Navazos back in 2012 when they were in their early 30s. The first wine I tried was the terrific La Bota de Palo Cortado 34 and I immediately bought up everything I could find from them and have been attempting – with limited success – to keep them for posteriy. However after trying “La Bota de Manzanilla 32 – 5 Years Later” the other day my curiosity was piqued to try this manzanilla pasada bottled in June 2011.
It is the “Capataz Rivas” (like La Bota de Manzanilla Pasada 59) and is a direct relation of la Guita as the excellent ficha points out and there is a clear family resemblance in every respect. Like the Guita en Rama it has an evolved, dark copper colour and a salty sweet nose. Then on the palate it has the smooth silky, slightly fatty texture of an old wine, and a really elegant shape with salty zing, rich, sweet, slightly metallic apricot and orange fruit and a bittersweet finish.
And the effects of those five years of bottle ageing? I must admit I am not finding as big an effect as there was in the manzanilla the other day – which is logical since this would never have been as “fresh” as the manzanilla was on release. Rather, it would have had a little bit of oxidation before bottling and as such you would expect it to be a little more stable in profile. Maybe there is a hint more marmalade bitterness to the fruit and the finish than there was when I tried it the first time – or when I tried the 59 – and maybe the metallic notes stand out a little more. Nevertheless, this is very very drinkable.
An elegant, fruitful and characterful wine: lovely stuff.
A classic manzanilla pasada and one that seems different every time I try it (and there have been a few already. At times I find it full of green apples, other times ripe, almost overripe apples, other times the apples are under haybales. This was from the August 2016 saca (I really need to start taking better note of these things).
Anyway, this time the apples are deep in bitter spices and spikey salinity. It has a much more vertical, Sanlucar feel to it than sometimes, but still has that fruit underneath. Really long and almost stinging finish, leaving your mouth smarting and watering in equal measure.