Manzanilla pasada Maruja

This is an absolutely class wine, one of the very best manzanilla pasadas you will find and one that just seems to get better and better every time I happen across a bottle.

It has a beautiful rich colour which is very nicely shown off by the clear glass bottle and as a result just looks incredibly appetising. The nose is no less inviting: wonderfully savoury, with a combination of sea-air, haybales and spices and herbs (an old spice box from the back of the larder).

And it certainly doesn’t disappoint when you tire of swirling it around the glass and finally take a glug. The profile is superbly elegant: a sharp, zingy start and a long fresh, mouth watering finish, with no edges in between but rather a smooth crescendo to a very intense mouthful of flavours. Savoury, spicey, umami and sweet like a meaty, tomatoey curry sauce – one of those curries with stewed apricots in them. It is the intensity, depth and completeness of those flavours – foreshadowed in the nose – that for me really set this wine apart.

Anyway, this bottle was gone in a blink of an eye. Must get myself two or three more!

 

 

The flock again

A growing obsession with these perfect little bottles, packed to the brim with zingy, zesty manzanilla (pasada) and emblazoned with beautiful creatures of fur and feather.

This was the pioneer in the en rama stakes, and in the seasonal saca stakes – they started these in 1999 (my little collection representa only four and a half of the nineteen years of sacas). More importantly it is one of the very top manzanillas around: full of character, ageworthy and subtly different as each season comes along.

Looking forward to the 20th anniversary celebrations next year (hint)!

Manzanilla pasada Maruja

Had lunch at Surtopia yesterday. It was fantastic as always, a superb carpaccio de tarantelo in particular. But the wines I had just blew me away, starting with this absolutely superb manzanilla pasada.

No apple or chamomile here, pure savoury power from start to finish. Beautiful colour – they are quite right to sell this in a clear glass bottle – an intense, dark gold. Then it has a nose of salty spices and vegetables that every time I put nose to glass reminds me of a Bombay Aloo. But the sensations really start when you straighten the elbow: a really intense palate with a zingy start, intense spice, a kind of stewed richness, clove like and bitterness and really intense zing, heat on the tongue at the finish.

If you are looking for something fruity look elsewhere, but this is a pure thoroughbred manzanilla pasada and a glorious wine on any measure.

La Bota de Manzanilla Pasada 60 – Bota Punta

Not much of this left now (they have half a glass here in Media Ración) and we will miss it once its gone. Every time I come back to it it seems chalkier, more savoury and more mineral – with a warming, mouth watering, salt and pepper finish.

Maybe it is the time in the bottle, the time the bottle has been open, or maybe just my imagination (or the alignment of the stars) but seems to have a shade less of the almost fruit-like toffee that I remember when it first came out. Looking back at old notes I definitely enjoyed it more last year and the year before.

Still a superstar wine though – drink up it you can find it.

Solear en rama Autumn 2016 – the Little Bustard

Been a hard few days at the coalface and this is just the sort of pick-me-up a fellow needs.

Lovely aromas as soon as the cork popped out of the top of the bottle, a gorgeous old gold colour, buttery mouthfeel and creamy buttery flavours to it too. Really lush, even as it sizzles the saliva out of the old taste buds.

Just what I needed. Absolutely top drawer.

La Bota de Manzanilla Pasada 80 – Bota Punta – in Angelita Madrid

Madre mia. Good grief. I love these wines. Pure noughtiness. What a cracking juice this is …

A worthy successor to the illustrious 20 and other noughties that followed it, this is potent but vertical and elegant. Not as broad in the beam or packed with flavour as some manzanillas pasadas, but sharp, long, and a beautiful profile.

Also a really interesting contrast to the Bota 59 and the Bota 60 that I have had recently. Where those were gentle and mellow this has a zip and sharpness to it.

And finally a word for the bar of Angelita – stuff like this and Fino La Barajuela 2014 by the half glass, among many others. Absolutely cracking.

La Bota 59 de Manzanilla Pasada – Capataz Rivas

Another intriguing bottle of manzanilla pasada from Equipo Navazos. After the 60 last week in Media Ración, the last glass of the 59 in Madrid Angelita.

These are lovely, lively wines. Such a buzz off this – talk about length, my mouth is still vibrating and salivating as I write. Heat in that salinity, and after the elegant, sweet to bitter palate it is really something. The nose too is like a very subtle salty caramel – caramel notes on top and bitter and salt underneath. Both the nose and the palate have a slight bitter note that I don’t remember when it came out and that I associate with the bottle age – even if it is only a couple of years.

But this is impeccable as a wine – really fantastic stuff.

La Bota de Manzanilla Pasada 60 – Bota Punta

One of my happy places here in Madrid – the bar of Media Ración – where in swish surroundings and with very pleasant dishes (honorable mention in Metropoli’s yearly awards) you can partake of little gems like this.

One of the “noughty” manzanilla pasadas by Equipo Navazos, this is one of the chalkiest wines you will find anywhere, and with its nearly three years in the bottle the mineral zing and mellow flavours seem to have dimmed a little leaving that chalk above the waterline.

May not sound tasty but it really is – lovely wine.

Manzanilla pasada La Guita (1970s)

This was a second very special wine brought to lunch by Juancho Asenjo – the man is a legend – in Territorio Era recently.

It had some tough competition on the day – a quite outstanding 20 year old Fino Carta Blanca – and has a tough act to follow in the form of its own descendants. You see it is a manzanilla pasada La Guita from (I think – memory is a bit hazy for some reason) the 1970s and would be a lineal ancestor of the outstanding “noughty”‘manzanilla pasadas released in more recent times by Equipo Navazo, which are among the very finest wines I have tried from the region.

And this was a fascinating wine. Was a rich old amber in colour and was pretty clear, maybe just a hint of cloudiness. On the nose it was still there – a bit of old apple and straw – although not as punchy as it might once have been, and on the palate it was extraordinary. Not so much the flavours, which were still there and were enjoyable if a little muted, but a quite amazing chalky, almost chalk dust texture.

The most mineral wine I have ever tasted without question – extraordinary stuff.

La Bota de Manzanilla Pasada 59 – Capataz Rivas

Just lately I seem to find Equipo Navazos wines everywhere I go but to be honest that is no bad thing – certainly not when they are as enjoyable as this one. This Number 59 is sourced from a special solera set aside at La Guita and has all the characteristics of a top manzanilla pasada: mellow, fresh, fruitful, saline, and elegant.

They are characteristics that make it a wonderful, versatile wine for the table and indeed a friend and I enjoyed a few glasses in Media Ración over lunch the other day. But it is also the kind of wine that is enough of itself – enjoyable but with plenty of complexity. This was bottled in June 2015 and looking back at my previous notes from October 2015 and February 2016  I would say it has held up very well – maybe a slight edge has been taken off it over time but it is still sharp and fresh.

Lovely stuff.