The wines of Emilio Hidalgo in Taberna Verdejo

Absolutely top class dinner last night in Taberna Verdejo featuring a lot of laughter some first class cooking and above all three absolutely classic wines from Emilio Hidalgo.

First, with mussels and rubio (sea robin) in escabeche (and in fact even before the food arrived) we started with La Panesa, which is just a class fino. So much power and body, a really buttery mouthful and a no vibrato purity and solidity of flavours. These bottles were from 2016 and the almond and roast almond flavours just had that suggestion of bitterness before the long long finish.

Then another escabeche, this time a rabbit (another of Verdejo’s strengths, small game) and, having exhausted the supply of La Panesa we moved on to the Amontillado Fino Tresillo. And my goodness what an impact this wine makes – such sharpness and elegance, finer in feel than the fino and a touch of dry honey to the almond flavours – almost hazelnut-, all with that sizzling salinity, which comes across much more clearly in this finer profiled wine. Really lovely, really drinkable wine.

And then with the sweetbreads (oh, the sweetbreads) and rabo de toro (stewed bull’s tail) a glass (or two) of the Gobernador oloroso. Another beautifully made wine – packed with acidity and flavor but with excellent crispness and balance. In fact I was struck by the freshness of it – really clean lines.

All three wines were individually superb but also great company for the solid matter, but the less said about the Rives Special Gin from El Puerto that followed the better …

Advertisements

Oloroso Tradición

Not everything that is interesting is new. This is not a vintage wine or a recovered variety. It isn’t even vineyard specific, but it is a classic in every sense of the word. An oloroso from the old school – a VORS in fact – with over thirty years in the butt, but beautifully made. No fruit or biology here: all acidity and intensity, but beautifully polished and compact for all that.

In colour it is an amber yellow/brown and clear as a bell. On the nose you have nice woody cigar box and treacle toffee aromas, very appetising indeed. Then on the palate it has that compactness – zingy acidity up front  to open you up then a broadside of caramel and woody flavours. Real intensity there and then a spicey, acidic finish but a clean one with no astringency.

Another beauty from Tradición.

 

#4GWFEST2018 – Part 1 – The return of Antonio de la Riva

Some of the wines I was most looking forward to trying at the Cuatrogatos Wine Fest last weekend were new (and old) wines from an old name: Antonio de la Riva. It is the name of a maker established in the 19th Century, absorbed by Domecq in the late 20th Century and which disappeared as a label not long afterwards, but whose bottles are highly prized by collectors and fans of the older wines. I am neither a collector (except to the extent that winemakers persuade me their wine will improve in the bottle) or particularly big on the bottle aged wines, but even so I was excited about these, because the famous old brand – together with some regal old butts and a supply from some handy soleras and vineyards – has recently been revived under new ownership.  And you have to say it could not be in better hands: the Sobrinos de Haurie themselves, Ramiro Ibañez and Willy Perez.

The wines, which up to this weekend had only been tried by a select few, are expected to be released soon. They include a white wine, from pago Macharnudo (and specifically, the corner of the Majuelo vineyard known as “El Notario”), a fino from wines sourced from Balbaína Alta, and two very senior citizens in the form of a very old oloroso and a very very old moscatel. On the day the lads had brought the fino, the oloroso and the moscatel and given the tiny quantities that were available their presentation in public was discreet – as the photographs above show.

The good news is that the wines are absolute belters.

First, the fino is a classic “Jerez” style (I have written “Jerezano twice in my notes”), with a very mineral, compact structure and sapidity. The nose is stoney and weedy, not big and aromatic haybales but more like the overgrown wall of a churchyard. Then it has a sharp zing to it broadening out into a decent mouthful of slightly bitter almonds before a fresh finish. Closer in style to a Camborio than an Inocente but in that same neighbourhood in terms of class with a good ten years under flor.

After the fino, the oloroso, which according to my notes is from Balbaina Baja and is spectacular (double underlined in the original text). Sawdust and alcoholic sweetness on the nose (I have hazelnut vinegar written here), then all the right kind of woody flavours across the palate: walnut and cedar cigar boxes, bitter chocolate and extremely black, salty and peppery coffee. And an unbelievable concentration and acidity – holding even a small sip in your mouth the heat is incredible.

And then the moscatel, which is another absolute beast. More of the same only possibly even more so. Incredibly dense and dark to look at – took an eternity for the drop above to make its way to the tasting receptacle – but just amazing on the nose and the palate, full of ginger and spices, nuts, chocolate and coffee. Enough acidity to keep it honest and balance up its sweetness and incredibly long. Sensational, and being honest, well beyond my powers of description even if I had taken decent notes.

Remember the name: Antonio de la Riva.

Oloroso seco Manuel Aragón

You can probably guess where I drank this from the photo. If you need any further clues I can tell you that they have a list of sherries unlike any other in Madrid.

This is an oloroso from Manuel Aragon, who has a bodega called “El Sanitorio” in Chiclana at the Southernmost extent of el marco that is probably best known to readers of this blog for being the source of La Bota 62 de Palo Cortado. but I admit that the first thing that I think of is always the Manifesto 119. I wonder what happened to those wines from gateta?

Anyway, like the famous Equipo Navazos Palo Cortado what struck me about this oloroso was how lively and youthful it was for the depth and definition of its flavours and aromas. As you can see, crystalline, a bright chestnut red colour. Then on the nose it has a beautiful clean whiff of nuts and sawdust, that just follows on through the palate, with a fresh finish to boot.

A really nice spritely oloroso. Can’t quite believe how old it is.

Oloroso Callejuela

One of the wines from a recent stop in at Kulto this was a perfect accompaniment to the manitas (pigs trotters) in thai red curry, and given that combination you can probably guess that this was tasted in less than laboratory-like conditions. A real world tasting, you might say.

The wine is characteristically drinkable. It slips in easily enough and a burntish caramel sweet taste, then slight sawdust and woody flavours, which turn to burnt wood bitterness and a really intense, long burn at the finish – acid and salinity. It is a very tasty wine alright – more than a match for the curry – but fine and elegant for all that.

Top bombing once again from the guys at Callejuela.

 

Oloroso Gobernador

Enjoyed this with some meaty callos in La Antojá and it is a winning combination (if anything callos could have been a little spicier to match the oloroso, but it was close enough).

It is a classic oloroso. Just look at that beautiful clarity and deep, rich color. On the nose it is nutty and inviting, just a suggestion of caramel, but on the palate it is crisp, dry, acidic – some nutty and burnt caramel in the middle – and then more heat on the finish.

A no-nonsense wine for a no-nonsense dish.

 

 

 

Oloroso Villapanés with Callos in Wilda

One of the classic sherry pairings in one of Madrid’s newest and trendiest establishments. I don’t think anybody would describe Wilda (Calle del Leon 9) as conventional, with its funky decoration and selection of equally funky (in a good way) natural and artisan wines. But when you look closely at the wine list and menu you can rest assured that this is also the sort of place you can safely refuel on a crisp winter day.

Some classic combinations are possible and this was certainly one. Here the oloroso Villapanés was stately and awesome – this wine is feline like a regal old lion – and perfect with the callos, which are from a famous, michelin starred stable and are super smooth in flavor and texture.

And after that well, I know the other sherries on what is a well thought-out little list so I had a bit of a dip with some really interesting wines from Extremadura and some fizz from Toledo (and an XL serving of top drawer arroz con leche, as you can see).

Really nice little lunch and well worth a visit.